G H Q
A new generation of products
is blowing pasta’s starchy, old
image right out of the water.
BY RICHARD TURCSIK
“ANTHONY! AN THONY!” So began a classic, 1970s-era tele- vision commercial making note of the fact that in Boston’s Italian North
End, Wednesday is Prince Spaghetti Day.
After hearing his mother’s shouts from a sec-ond-floor apartment window, 12-year-old
Anthony hightailed it home to a family-style
bowl of Prince spaghetti for dinner.
Times have certainly changed. For starters, pasta is no longer considered an “ethnic”
Italian dish, but is now mainstream. Today, there are fewer
stay-at-home moms with the
time to spend an entire afternoon slaving over a stove making a multi-course pasta feast.
Plus, more and more consumers are counting carbs, watching calories, and trying to eat
lighter and healthier.
Pasta manufacturers have
listened, developing products
made with vegetables, beans,
ancient grains and other heart-
healthy, high-protein, high-fiber
ingredients. They have also created pastas that
are easier to prepare, saving always-on-the-
run consumers valuable time in the kitchen.
For example, Prince—now a brand of
Harrisburg, Pa.-based New World Pasta
Company—has a line of
Quick Cook elbows, penne
rigate and rotini that cook up
in only three minutes.
Market leader Barilla
North America is touting
a “Good for You, Good for
the Planet” platform that
was developed by the Barilla
Center for Food & Nutrition
(BCFN) Foundation in 2009.
It features a “double pyra-
mid” showcasing the ben-
efits of the Mediterranean
Diet alongside an inverted
environmental pyramid touting the lower car-
bon footprint that a diet rich in pasta has com-
pared to other foods in terms of the energy,
water and land resources they take to produce.
“Good for the Planet means to continue to
reduce the environmental impact from field-to-fork, in particular with regard to greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of water
resources in production plants,” says Frank
Spear Jr., national retail operations manager
at Barilla America, based in Northbrook,
Ill. Barilla is investing significant resources
in increasing category consideration among
Millennials, most recently with a web series
where YouTube star Hannah Hart of My
Drunk Kitchen dishes about life, passion and
pasta with celebrity pals like Bill Nye, Rachel
Zoe, Wanda Sykes and others.
That tactic, among others, appears to be
paying off. According to IRI, a Chicago-based