Italian pasta has always been strongly susceptible to exports. Last year, 58% of its production reached around 200 countries worldwide. The United States is the most important destination beyond EU-borders. Along with Canada, the United States represents about 10% of exports in terms of volume, with a constant trend of business growth. So much so that, according to the data of Unione Italiana Food, exports to the United States have grown by 49% in volume in the last decade, while in 2018 we saw a surplus of + 7.2% over 2017, amounting to 180 million tonnes. The volume figures are even more interesting. Sales reached + 85% in the last ten years and + 8.7% in 2018, equalling 262 million euro.
“As far as consumption trends are concerned,” emphasizes Cristiano Laurenza, Secretary-General of Italian pasta makers of Unione Italiana Food, “durum wheat keeps playing a central role. At the same time, we are seeing a strong growth trend of wholegrain, gluten-free and organic pasta as well as special ones, with legumes and other cereals, that is.”
We mustn’t forget that in four states, namely Florida, California, Oregon and Connecticut, vitamin-packed pasta has always been mandatory. In brief, the health & wellness trend is also felt in pasta consumption, even though according to Laurenza the fact that the sensitivity towards these issues is higher in bigger cities than in the rest of the country needs to be pointed out separately.
ITALIAN DRY PASTA: PRODUCT TRENDS
- In the wake of the health and wellness trend, the consumption of whole-grain and enriched pasta is growing;
- Gluten-free is a segment that is also establishing itself in this category;
- Available in all the main segments, organic pasta continues to be appreciated and is in great demand;
- For durum wheat semolina, which is the core business of the market, even the United States is interested in high quality niches: from pasta made with ancient grains, such as stone-ground monococco, to those enriched with Omega 3 and with high content proteins;
- The same applies to pasta produced only with 100% Italian wheat such as those exported by the Protection Consortium of Pasta di Gragnano PGI.
USA, THE TARGET COUNTRY FOR PASTA DI GRAGNANO PGI
The United States has always been one of the reference markets for Pasta di Gragnano, which, thanks to the immigrants who moved from Naples to America between the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, became known and appreciated overseas. This led many factories of the Gragnano area to come up with engaging forms of commercial promotion, distributing tributes and tastings at the corners of the main streets of the largest cities in America.
Compared to the total turnover of Pasta di Gragnano PGI (about 200 million euro), equalling a total PGI production of about 100,000 tonnes, today the United States accounts for about 5% of overall sales. This value increases enormously if we consider that the total percentage of exports of this particular product is worth about 20% of the total (between production/ turnover).
Only considering the turnover of Pasta di Gragnano PGI abroad, the United States make up for about one third of the total exports. And the figures are bound to grow further. As a matter of fact, the projects of the Consortium include among other things also a brand new communication and promotion plan, with participations in trade shows and collaborations with prestigious testimonials.