GHQ CENTER STORE
market research firm, for the 52-weeks ended
Oct. 2, the pasta category had sales of $2.2 billion, up 1.1 percent. Excluding noodles, sales
were $1.9 billion, up 0.6 percent, with unit
sales of more than 1.4 billion packages, up 1.1
Barilla is the largest brand, followed by private label, then Ronzoni, Muellers, Creamette,
Skinner and De Cecco.
Like New World Pasta, Barilla has developed several lines that make pasta easier to
prepare for today’s time-pressed consumers.
“Convenience hunters under index in dry
pasta, typically turning to frozen as stove top
is viewed as inconvenient,” says Spear. “Our
convenience initiative, Pronto, is
a stove top option that simplifies
the cooking process using cooking shortcuts. We offer five different cut varieties within this portfolio, and Pronto was a recipient of the
Better Home and Garden’s Best New
Product Award 2016.”
Barilla has taken convenience a
minute closer with Ready Pasta, a
four SKU-line microwavable line
that is ready in 60 seconds. “Ready
Pasta is all-natural with no preservatives and
made with three simple non-GMO ingredi-
ents—fully cooked pasta, a touch of olive oil
and dash of sea salt,” Spear says.
A downside of traditional pasta is that it is
rich in gluten, a problem for consumers with
celiac disease and others who simply view gluten as not being healthy. Several manufacturers have addressed this issue by coming out
with gluten-free quinoa-based pastas.
Pereg Natural Foods has introduced Pereg
Quinoa Pasta in Curvo Rigate, Fusilli and
“The color is slightly darker than a standard
pasta, while the taste and texture are similar,
but still unique to quinoa pasta,” says Brett
Fuss, international brand director at Pereg
Natural Foods, based in Clifton, N.J. “Our
cooking time is six minutes for a great al dente
texture, but if overcooked, quinoa pasta starts
to get very soggy like other gluten-free pastas.”
Fuss suggests retailers merchandise quinoa
pasta alongside other pastas to also attract
those not necessarily on a gluten-free diet but
still looking to try something different.
NOW Foods has a line of pasta made with
organic quinoa, amaranth and rice under its
Living Now brand. “A lot of
other quinoa pastas on the
market have corn and that
gives kind of a weird texture to it, making it a little gummy, and it doesn’t
hold up well overnight,” says
David Rosenberg, food category manager at NOW Foods,
based in Bloomingdale, Ill.
A bonus is that Living Now
pasta offers more protein than does wheat
pasta, Rosenberg says. “It is a really nice option
for a lot of people because you
don’t have to be gluten-intolerant
to enjoy it,” he says.
Retailing for $4.99 per 8-ounce
box, Living Now is also wrapped
in cellophane to eliminate the possibility of cross-contamination
when merchandised next to traditional wheat pastas on the shelf.
“If you have a wheat pasta and a
gluten-free pasta right next to each
other that are just thrown into a
box then you are opening yourself up to a lot
of issues,” Rosenberg says.
Consumers looking to expand their pasta
palates might look to Explore Cuisine, a man-
ufacturer of organic plant-based pastas based
in Red Bank, N.J. “Our top seller is our Black
Bean Spaghetti, made with a single ingredi-
ent—organic black beans—and offering 25
grams of protein in a 2-ounce serving,” says
Erika Wasserman, vice president, market-
ing. “So a box has 100-grams of protein in it.
That just transforms pasta. We made pasta not
only taste great, but be healthy, nutritious and
Explore Cuisine also has a line of lentil pas-
tas, called “pulse” pastas, including Chickpea
Fusilli and Green Bean Lasagna.
According to Aileen Magnotto, president/
founder of Magnoodles Smart Pasta, based in
Hermitage, Pa., the gluten-free phenomenon
has peaked and consumers are starting to turn
back toward better-tasting gluten lines.
Magnotto began making commercial pasta
in 1999 when she invested in a pasta machine
and started selling homemade
pasta in Magnotto’s Shop ‘n
Save, the supermarket her
family owned in Hermitage.
“I used to make pasta for my
children when they were little and their friends called me
Mrs. Magnoodles,” she says.
“What makes my product
unique is that it is a blend of
three whole grains—whole
grain spelt, whole grain
Kamut (khorasan) and whole grain durum—
blended with organic semolina, so it acts,
cooks and tastes like white pasta, rather than
the cardboard-tasting whole grain pastas,” she
says. Magnoodles penne and shells are also
made with vegetables, containing a mix of
powdered tomatoes, carrots, spinach and beets
in the flour. “Some people say that makes it a
little bit sweeter,” she says.