Italians consume record quantities of Chinese ginger: statistics

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Italians last year consumed record quantities of ginger root, most of which were imported from China, the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti said in a statement on Monday.

The statement came in response to consumer price data published on Monday by the Italian National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT), which added several new items to the collection of goods and services for household consumption (basket) that it uses to calculate inflation trends.

"With a record 73 percent increase in purchases in 2018, ginger enters into the (ISTAT) basket as a representative of the so-called superfoods, which are associated with specific health properties (such as) beneficial anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties," Coldiretti said.

The world's biggest ginger producers are China and India, followed by Indonesia, Thailand and Jamaica, according to the Florence-based Academia dei Georgofili, which was founded in 1753 to promote the studying of agronomy, forestry, geography and agriculture.

In Italy, ginger is grown on a very small scale only, for example in vegetable gardens, according to the Academy.

Other new entries into the ISTAT basket this year include blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries -- which are prized for their high vitamin content as well as their anti-oxidant powers -- plus electric bicycles and scooter sharing, hover boards, and web TV.

Items that fell out of the basket due to declining consumption include blank CDs and DVDs, and energy-saving light bulbs. ISTAT said the contents of its basket is based on surveys taken in 94 municipalities and on data collected in over 41,900 statistical units (including outlets, enterprises and institutions). 

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