To push the thefts in supermarkets, it is the high prices with inflation that affect the basket and put 5.6 million Italians at risk of food, who find themselves in a condition of absolute poverty. This is what Coldiretti affirms, commenting on the study of the Catholic University on thefts between shelves. Due to the rise in prices, according to Coldiretti, the number of those who are no longer able to guarantee themselves an adequate meal is bound to increase, but also of those who are tempted to seek illegal solutions.
This is the tip of the iceberg of the crisis situation in which an increasing number of people find themselves, many of whom are forced to resort to soup kitchens and much more frequently to food parcels, also due to the crisis generated by the pandemic. Individuals and families who have never experienced such problematic living conditions before.
“It is necessary to release as soon as possible the 200 million euros of funds from the Ministry of Agriculture to buy quality basic foods Made in Italy to deliver to the poor”. asks the president of Coldiretti Ettore Prandini, emphasizing that “we must speed up the presentation of appeals for aid to the poor with the resources allocated to buy quality food and drink to distribute to the new poor”.
With inflation, supermarket thefts are on the rise
Inventory differences of 3.48 billion, weighs stale goods
The high cost of living leads to supermarket thefts. This is what we can read in the study on “Retail Security in Italy 2021”, carried out by Crime & tech, a spin-off of the Catholic University, with the support of Checkpoint Systems Italia and the collaboration of the Safety Laboratory. In 2020, shrinkage in supermarkets reached 3.48 billion euros, or 1.41% of annual turnover.
The food sector was the most affected category, with an above-average value (1.89% of turnover). The overall phenomenon, however, is not only about thefts, but also includes everything that expired and damaged goods do not make invoices, also due to cold chain interruptions. The typical example can also be the refrigerator product which is abandoned on the shelves or near the checkouts by the customer who changes his mind after having put it in the basket.
The peak flight times are mainly in the evening, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., and lunchtime, between 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., especially on weekdays. The average value of goods stolen between early 2019 and mid-2021 was 39 euros. At the forefront are the thefts of alcohol, sweets and chocolate, preserves, cold meats and cheeses, coffee and perfumery.
Among the top external causes of shrinkage is shoplifting, with an increase in so-called “necessity thefts”, amounting to 66% of stolen goods, probably – according to research by Crime & tech and Checkpoint Systems Italia – due to social factors and economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic. Next come rejects and breakages, expiry of expiry dates or deterioration of the goods, rejects, administrative errors and breaks in the cold chain.
According to the study, mass distribution (GDO) has undoubtedly been one of the sectors least affected by the pandemic. With the first wave of Covid-19, supermarkets, and more generally food stores, saw a considerable increase in sales compared to the pre-pandemic period. At the end of the year, Istat once again recorded growth in sales of food products in Italy (+1.7% in value and +1.2% in volume), demonstrating once again the excellent health of the food sector.
However, due to inflation and the international energy crisis, which is also having a significant impact on the notoriously energy-intensive food supply chain, this growth may soon come to a halt.
According to February 2022 data from the Deloitte Global State of Consumer Tracker, 76% of Italians have already perceived an increase in the prices of basic foodstuffs, compared to the immediately preceding month.
“Higher prices – it says – means lower consumption, but that’s not all and the increase in the average basket price exposes retailers to the risk of seeing an increase in shrinkage”. “Analyzing the evolution of the phenomenon and above all the impact that this criticality has had on the food sector of mass distribution in the last two years – they explain to Checkpoint Systems Italia – can prove useful to retailers with a view to plan strategies to deal with it”.