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Soaring costs of glass for bottles: the Antitrust lights up a beacon

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Soaring costs of glass for bottles: the Antitrust lights up a beacon

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The Antitrust spotlight has also turned on the soaring cost of glass. The Competition and Market Authority has started an investigation into an alleged anti-competition agreement on the sale of glass bottles. Nine companies came under the microscope: Berlin Packaging Italy, Bormioli Luigi, OI Italy, Verallia Italia, Vetreria Cooperativa Piegarese, Vetreria Etrusca, Vetri Speciali, Vetropack Italia and Zignago Vetro. According to the Authority, the companies would have coordinated, at least starting from 2022, in requesting similar price increases for glass bottles from their customers in the same period of time.

58% increase in 18 months

For some time, wine producers’ associations have been complaining about the rise in prices of what for them is a fundamental raw material for production. According to data from Coldiretti and Filiera Italia, the cost of hollow glass for bottles has increased by 58% over 18 months. According to the analysis of the Divulga Study Center on a sample of 300 companies in the period December 2021-May 2023, if in 2022 the jump in costs was justified by the price peaks for electricity (543 euros per megawatt hour) and gas (233 euros per megawatt hour), the subsequent drop in energy prices had no positive effect on glass prices.

Competitiveness at risk

The uncontrolled increase in the price of glass, winemakers claim, contributes to undermining the competitiveness of Italian wine on the market at a time when sales of Made in Italy wine have suffered a setback on the national and international markets . In particular, sales abroad are slowing down, and especially those in the United States, which represent the main market for Italian wine, with a collapse of 8% in the first seven months of 2023. Furthermore, for the first time in seven years , Italy has lost its leadership as a wine producer in Europe and in the world with an estimated production of 43.9 million hectoliters, down 12% compared to last year, while France has become the leading producer with 45 million hectoliters, up 1.5% compared to the previous year.

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