Pandemic effects on the pasta industry

08 February 20224 min reading

According to the data of the International Pasta Organization (IPO), 15.8 million tons of pasta was produced globally in 2019. The same year, the 5 countries with the highest pasta consumption in the world were Italy with 23.1 kilograms, Tunisia with 17 kilograms, Venezuela with 12 kilograms, Greece with 11.4 kilograms, while Chile ranked fifth with 9.5 kilograms of consumption. With the pandemic, world pasta consumption increased by more than 1 million tons and exceeded 17 million tons.

Many pasta producing countries tried to ensure the food security of their people by giving priority to the domestic market during the first phase of the pandemic. Exporting countries, on the other hand, did not deprive their customers of products through increasing their production. The amount of global pasta consumption in 2020 exceeded 17 million tons. That's 1 million more than the previous record in 2019, and double what it was ten years ago. In this perfect embrace, the ultimate comfort food pasta has brought the world together in its most difficult year, helping to warm the hearts of millions of people and feed them healthily and sustainably. By looking at these figures, we can easily say: Pasta producers continue to feed the planet. 

The figures on world pasta consumption showed us during the Covid-19 quarantine that everyone loves it, and that pasta is everyone's favorite food. At the very beginning of the pandemic, citizens of all countries rushed to the markets in panic and got to staple foods, especially pasta. The shelves became empty. Within a very short time, the sector responded to the great demand boom by increasing its production volume. When the panic purchases of the consumers decreased, the shelves were filled. The industry quickly relieved the panic atmosphere all over the world. 

The years 2020 and 2021 left their mark on the rediscovery of pasta in the world. In these challenging times, pasta was once again perceived as a staple of nutrition and an indispensable element of a healthy Mediterranean lifestyle. A multi-country study ordered by the IPO to DOXA, Unione Italiana Food and ITA Agency analyzed the pasta consumption trend of Italy, Germany, France, England and the USA, which account for more than one-third of the world's pasta consumption, throughout the quarantine. It showed that in 2020, pasta has become a weekly or even daily food all over the world. Nearly all French (99%), Germans (98%) and British (95%), and 9 out of 10 Americans are eating it. Rather than the number of consumers, the frequency of consumption stood out as the most surprising factor. Among all countries surveyed, most people, namely 56% of Americans, 85% of French and 61% of Germans, eat pasta 1 to 4 times a week. 6 out of 100 Americans and 7 out of 100 French eat pasta every day.

The figures on world pasta consumption have shown us once again that everyone loves it and that pasta is everyone's favorite food throughout the quarantine period. Since pasta is an economical, simple and everyday product, it is a versatile material that can be used in any kitchen and with all kinds of ingredients. The increase in its global consumption means that pasta can be considered a food without borders, free from cultural, religious and economic barriers.

The International Pasta Organization stated that during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, mills and pasta companies had great difficulties in meeting demand, but supply stabilized in a short time thanks to reserves and partly durum wheat imports.

With the pandemic, people rediscovered pasta and flour, so to speak. It was one of the most preferred products during the time spent at home during the pandemic, as it is both economical and different kinds of dishes can be prepared with it. The 25 percent increase in consumption habits during this period was permanent in 2021 as well. There was no new increase in 2021, but the increase captured in 2020 was not lost.

Consumers reveal that they choose pasta as an easy-to-store, healthy, easy-to-cook, sustainable and favorite food in this challenging time. In 2021, pasta imports amounted to 11.2 billion dollars in the world. The import value of the USA, which is the largest importing country, is 1.3 billion dollars and has a 12.1% market share. The USA is followed by Germany (894.2 million dollars), France (780 million dollars), England (753.3 million dollars) and Canada (504.8 million dollars), respectively.

World pasta export amount is 11.8 billion dollars. Italy is the leading country with an export value of 3.5 million dollars and a market share of 30.2%. It is followed by China (980.1 million dollars), South Korea (792.3 million dollars), Turkey (761.2 million dollars) and Thailand (595.4 million dollars).

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