Coldiretti, the association representing more than 50 per cent of Italian farmers, has released figures showing changes in Italian dietary habits. The consumption of bread has dropped from 1.4 million tons in 2000 to 1 million tons in 2004, while the consumption of pasta has remained stable and the sale of breakfast cereals has risen by 10.5 per cent. The nutrition experts from the farmers union believe that this change in eating habits has two causes: many people eliminate bread from their diet in order to lose weight and more than 11 million Italians eat lunch away from their homes every day. Changing work habits and non-stop office hours (the siesta has almost disappeared) mean Italians now seldom return home for lunch or even have time for a restaurant meal at midday. Instead they eat a plate of pre-prepared pasta in a bar rather than the traditional bread roll. Figures show that the sale of frozen pre-prepared pasta dishes has increased by 540 per cent in the past four years.
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