Price increased by 50% in three years. Even toilet paper is a luxury

No, not even toilet paper. The high price of life also arrived there, in the bathroom. The price of one of the most indispensable and common consumer goods is skyrocketing. In the last three years there has been an increase of more than 44%. It means that a pack of toilet paper costs us today almost double compared to 2021. This is due to high energy prices, to war (the raw materials crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine), but also to shrinkflation which generates hidden inflation in shopping carts. of spending.

The study by the Consumer Training and Research Center (Crc) puts this surge in black and white. A pack of four rolls of toilet paper cost on average 1.74 euros in Italy in 2021. The same pack today costs 2.51. That is +44.2%. Bolzano is the city where buying toilet paper is most expensive: 3.40 euros for a pack of four rolls. In Grosseto you need 3.15 euros (+89%), in Udine 3.06. The provinces where toilet paper increased the least in the three-year period are Messina (+14.5%), Bari (+15.3%) and Vercelli (+17.3%). The greatest saving is in Syracuse where the package costs 1.77 euros. Followed by Bari (1.81 euros) and Mantua (1.87 euros).

Italians on average use 70 rolls of toilet paper a year and the market is worth around 1.2 billion euros in twelve months. What led to the expensive toilet paper? The first reason is certainly the raw materials crisis. The war in Ukraine has greatly limited imports of Russian wood, from which cellulose is obtained to produce toilet paper. This was followed, as a direct consequence, by the rise in the international price of short fiber which in January 2024 reached +68%. Added to this is the high energy cost of recent years, which affects production and distribution.

But it should not be forgotten that rolls are one of the goods most affected in Italy and in the world by the phenomenon of shrinkflation, which creates significant inflation hidden from consumers. Shrink and inflation. It means reducing the quantity of product contained in the packages without reducing the price. It is a widespread technique to allow a price to be maintained unchanged despite increases in production and distribution. Multiplied on a large scale it allows the profit to remain unchanged. But the consumer spends the same (the price per liter or kilogram does not increase) but has a smaller quantity of the product purchased. It happens more and more for pasta, biscuits, yogurt, mozzarella, coffee oil, shower gel, shampoo, detergents. And toilet paper in fact. Obviously the weight is indicated on the package, but it is difficult to notice while filling the cart. A pack of toilet paper at sight is a pack of toilet paper, it is difficult to notice if the rolls are smaller than before. Same thing for the rest of the products we buy.

Added to this is the cost to the environment. We are a moderate people. The 70 rolls per year on average are much fewer than the 134 of the Germans, the 127 of the English and the 141 of the Americans. But, claims the Italian Society of Environmental Medicine (Sima), it still means that every twelve months almost three million trees are used for this indispensable good, which is costing us almost double, for increasingly smaller rolls.