London, May 6 : It looks like pasta is on its way out - in Italy of all places - courtesy rising prices and falling sales.
According to an analysis of Italians' shopping habits by the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA), pasta sales have fallen by 2.6 per cent in the last year.
The CIA said that Italians were eating "chicken pieces instead of pasta, fried foods instead of vegetables and cheese instead of fruit".
Even wine sales have fallen by nearly 5 per cent.
The CIA said that sales of bread had fallen by 6.2 per cent compared with the previous year, vegetables by 4.2 per cent, pasta by 2.6 per cent and fruit by 2.5 per cent. Sales of pork were down by 4.7 per cent and beef by 3.8 per cent.
By contrast sales of eggs had gone up by 4.2 per cent and chicken by 3.8 per cent.
"Shoppers are looking for low-cost protein in a time of austerity," TimesOnline quoted the CIA study, as stating.
The result "reads like the shopping list of an impecunious student living away from home", said the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
"Sales are falling of the products which are the symbols of Italian cuisine. Pasta is not just part of our diet, it is part of our culture," the newspaper added.
In Italy pasta prices have gone up nearly 20 per cent in the past year.
Giuseppe Politi, the head of the CIA, said that crops were "rotting in the fields" as families, who were having trouble-making ends meet, adjusted their shopping habits.