According to the most recent data, in 2014, 14,5 million tons of pasta were produced (+56% over 15 years). 1 out of every 4 pasta dishes eaten throughout the world, contains Italian pasta (source International Pasta Organisation – Ipo – and Italian Association of Confectionery and Pasta Industries – Aidepi).
There are many reasons why pasta is so popular. First – it’s almost obvious – because it is good, for the palate and for your health.
Wheat, water, passion and professional hands give birth to a product with some of the best organoleptic properties around the world. It is unique because it can be humble in taste, and yet even prepared in the simplest ways loved by everyone.
Nutritionists agree that pasta is a healthy food and that complex carbohydrates are essential for any diet. Especially when paired with other healthy foods (greens, vegetables, olive oil) found in a Mediterranean diet. The ease in which pasta and its variations is digested, such as pasta made from whole wheat, make it a versatile food, perfect for any age and even for those who choose, by choice or by necessity, to follow particular diets.
Pasta is also suitable to be added with other sustenance (bean or pea flours, quinoa, fortified flours) and become a nutraceutical/functional food to mitigate health problems (see the article in the next pages).
But let’s go on talking about durum wheat pasta. It is popular alla round the world also because it is accessible. Today, the cost of a plate of pasta is very reasonable: with 0,45 € cents one can prepare a portion of spaghetti and tomato sauce topped with a generous sprinkle of parmesan. Just think that one sms costs 0,15 € cents. Also, a full tank of gas costs approximately 70 €, an amount of money that could ensure a pasta dish a day for 6-8 months.
It’s practical. Thanks to pasta, we can prepare a first course dish, with a simple and healthy dressing, in just 15 minutes. Furthermore, it is easy to transport and store as it does not need a fridge, it takes up little room, it does not weigh much, and does not go bed in hot or cold temperatures.
Pasta lovers are all over the world, and they are increasing, too. According to Aidepi, 188 countries import Italian pasta (140 in 1991, +34% in 2014). The reason of such a success is that the product shows its adaptability to various styles of food and types of culture. This is why the businessmen’s mission is creating new products suitable to cultures of countries “far away” from Italy.
In the more mature markets Italian entrepreneur are answering to the request of consumers with typical Italian “maxi” formats (paccheri, conchiglioni and other shapes). In other areas of the world they offer special types of pasta added with minerals, vitamins or with superfood (red chard, rosemary, beans, hemp flour, etc…) to enrich the dough.
Consumers appreciate also: fast cooking pasta, that has a higher water content compared to normal pasta and is ready in 4 minutes; ready meals where the pasta is already mixed in with the sauce, to be cooked in a wok (to reach out to the Chinese market) or prepared like “a risotto” in a pot or pressure cooker (for Americans that don’t want to use two pots for heating the sauce and cooking the pasta).