If you hear the word Pasta, you probably think of Italy. Italians are not just the biggest consumers of pasta in the world, approximately 25 kilos per-capita a year, but they are also at the first place in terms of production, potential production and exportation. Thanks to a growth rate of +25% in the last 10 years, out of 4 plates of pasta eaten around the world 1 of them is made in Italy. This figure increases to 3 out of 4 when only Europe is taken into consideration. Finally, we can now find pasta produced by Italian factories on the shelves of supermarkets in 188 countries across the world (140 countries in 1991).
It is not surprising therefore, that 57% of Italian production is destined for foreign markets (almost 2 million tons, according to a study performed by Aidepi (the Association of Italian Confectionery and Pasta Industries). This compared to 54% 5 years ago, 48% in the year 2000 and 5% in 1955. Furthermore, Italian pasta producers are not far off reaching 60% exports, considering that some of them already export 90% of their total production.
This important “slice” of the made in Italy industry, a slice that has a turnover of over 2 billion euros, one that supports the sales of other typical Italian products such as tomatoes, olive oil and cheese, also represents new exciting ways to think about, prepare and cook pasta for people with different lifestyles situated all around the world.
Due to these facts, people who are searching for the “secret” of traditional Italian cuisine (purists), can also now enjoy many new variations which are sure to make them smile. Furthermore, pasta makers too find it an intriguing cultural and economic challenge.
Paolo Barilla, president of Aidepi, explains: «Creating a product that can offer the Italian know-how and satisfy local needs is the keystone to becoming the protagonists in a strategic market and offering a global future to pasta. This does mean redesigning it, adapting it to various tastes, consumeristic styles and habits».
So, let’s give a glance – with Aidepi’s help – to some cities around the world to understand how people there appreciate pasta and how entrepreneurs try to reach ad satisfy their request.
New York and its baked ziti
In the Us the consumption per-capita is about 8,8 kg, approximately twice as much than the 80s.
US is in 4th place amongst consumers of Italian pasta but are in 1st place amongst countries outside Europe. They import 151 thousand tons, which equals to 7,7% in volume or 9,5% in value of our total exports.
Their favorite recipe? Baked ziti. This is recipe has been present in American homes and restaurants for many years. The ziti are broken up into pieces, covered with a choice of various sauces typical of Italian-American cooking, and cooked au gratin in a casserole dish. For example, ziti with tomato sauce, cheese, sausage, mushrooms and onions, the more the merrier.
More often than not spaghetti are the most popular type of pasta used (40%), followed by spaghettini, gomiti, rotelle and penne. Furthermore, cheese sauce appears to be the favorite condiment (37%), followed by sauces containing meat (32%), vegetables (31%) and fish (20%).