Crisis-hit Italians opt for eggs over meat

Crisis-hit Italians opt for eggs over meat
Eggs photo: Shutterstock.
Italians are cutting meat from their diet and getting protein from eggs as a cheaper alternative, while overall supermarket spending has dropped to 1981 levels, new statistics show.

As the economic crisis continues to bite, Italians are trying to maintain a balanced diet while saving a few euros on their shopping.

Last year, meat sales fell by two percent, while eggs saw the same percentage rise, according to an analysis by the agricultural organization, Coldiretti.

Fish has also been rejected as a luxury in Italy, with spending last year down 20 percent compared to 2012, and even pasta sales fell by nine percent.

Other celebrated Italian products are also being hit by the economic crisis, with Italians buying up six percent less extra virgin olive oil, while ice-cream sales were down by seven percent, Coldiretti said.

Food spending rose continuously in Italy in the postwar era until 2006, before falling each consecutive year and in 2013 hitting 1981 levels.

While Italians are also being more picky about the types of food they buy, Coldiretti said they are also choosing lower quality products, which has led to an increase in health scares. From 2007 to 2013, the number of warnings of potentially damaging food and drinks rose by 14 percent.

But the changes to Italians’ diets could also have an unexpected health benefit.

According to Italian Emma Morano, Europe’s oldest person at 114, eggs are the secret to longevity. For more than 90 years Morano has eaten two eggs a day, she said in November.

READ MORE: Italian hits 114 thanks to 'eggs and sleep'

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