UK supermarkets are selling Italian food products that do not resemble the authentic recipes, according to leading Italian chef Carluccio.

Antonio Carluccio, owner of the Carluccio restaurant chain, believes that classic Italian dishes are being made with the wrong ingredients and do not follow the authentic recipes.

Carluccio has criticised supermarkets for capitalising on the huge growth in the popularity of Italian food and not doing enough to ensure they are using the best authentic ingredients.

The Italian government has also joined in the debate in arguing that the big chains are offering bland pasta sauces and labelling them as genuinely Italian.

Carluccio’s comments coincide with the forecast that the British market for Italian ready meals, pasta, sauces, olive oil and bread is set to grow by 33.3% between 2003 and 2007, rising to a total value of £1.38bn.

Carluccio told The Grocer that, “It is often what I would call Britalian food… everyone has jumped on the bandwagon.” He also stated that quality was compromised as supermarkets put cost first.