Even though it was invented to honor the Queen of Italy, Margherita of Savoy, for Italians, pizza Margherita has always been a traditional working-class food. The simplicity of its ingredients means that it can be made everywhere and that everybody can treat themselves to a pizza night every once in a while.
In recent years, however, one might think that pizza is becoming once again royalty food: in 2021 in Italy, an entrepreneur made a scandal by selling a (poorly made) Margherita at 14 €, almost three times the average price at the time. As years went on, the price of this iconic food increased nationwide, as recorded by the Italian CPI sub-item and the Bloomberg’s Pizza Margherita index.
The price of a pizza Margherita jumped up about 30% with respect to the beginning of 2022. The most significant drivers of the price surge are flour and energy. Both elements, in Europe, are mainly sourced in the regions currently affected by the Russia-Ukraine war. The prices of flour and energy increased substantially at the beginning of the war in Ukraine, but they stabilized or even decreased at the beginning of this year. Unfortunately, the price of our beloved pizza Margherita will not follow the same path because the mozzarella cheese production is relatively low at the moment, amid the reduced milk production caused by the droughts. Although only a marginal ingredient, olive oil is also contributing to the higher price of the pizza: droughts have affected the production volumes, and shortages of other vegetable oils pushed its price up. The cost of Italian extra virgin olive oil has been steadily climbing up since the beginning of 2022, and it is at an all-time high price of almost 6000 EUR per metric ton.
A war is hopefully a transitory event whose effects might vanish as years go by, but unfortunately, the same is not valid for the impact of climate change. Our beloved pizza Margherita might be an early warning of the effects of climate change on our food sources.
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