Parboiled, Wholegrain and Classic: how Italians Love Rice

Arborio and Basmati are the most popular in Italy, according to Doxa-Food study
Parboiled, Wholegrain and Classic: how Italians Love Rice

Used in a classic risotto, or as a salad, rice is a staple of global kitchens. Preferred for its natural and nutritious properties, most Italians consume it as the main ingredient of their diet once a week, according to a study by Doxa and Food magazine. The research shows that Italian consumers like classic dishes at the table but appreciate new ideas when it comes to snack and breakfast. According to the survey, parboiled and wholegrain are everywhere in the stores, followed by mixes of rice and cereal, unprocessed, organic, and ready-to-cook.


The most popular varieties in Italy are Arborio and Basmati, followed by Carnaroli, Roma, Ribe, Venere, Vialone Nano, red, Jasmine, Sant’Andrea, rice for sushi, Baldo and finally, wild one. Appreciated for its delicate aroma and consistency, Basmati has become as popular as Arborio, which is a classic of the Italian food tradition. Carnaroli, the third-most common rice in Italy, is often used for risotto because it keeps the cooking well. Other lesser-known varieties have become easier to find across Italy as consumers look for something new to add to their meals. These include the Roma, the black Venere, and Vialone Nano, a specialty from the Veneto region which also has a PGI variety, the Riso Nano Vialone Veronese.


Making a ‘risotto’ is the answer for 69% of the Italian consumers polled in the survey. The percentage rises to 72% for women. The second most popular recipe emerging from the survey is white rice (11% of the answers), especially among men (14%). Considered as a side to main dishes together with vegetables, this is a true classic for every Italian table. Salads are the third-preferred recipe with 6% of the people polled, followed by exotic dishes at number 4 (4% of the answers). Soup, cake, arancini and Cantonese-style rice come at the bottom of the list, while 2% of consumers said they never cook it.


Looking at the snacking category, cookies score high with 47% of preferences, which reach 50% among the over 35, followed by flakes (29%), noodles (17%, which reaches 20% among Millennials aged 18-35). Cakes stand at 13%, followed by milk (5%), and crackers (4%). Eleven percent of consumers say they don’t consume such products.


Women in Italy seem to like rice more than men, according to the study. About 63% of women consume rice once a week against 51% of men. Also, 34% of women and 29% of men said they consume it more times a week. Millennials said they are regular consumers of rice, although less frequently (53% once a week) than the over 35 (64%). A large share of Millennials, however, eat this product more than once a week (35% versus 31% of the over 35).

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