In the first six months of 2020, a world hurt by the pandemic was willing for even more pasta, whose export increased by 25% compared to 2019. A study by DOXA on pasta consumption during the lockdown solidifies the “myth” of pasta makers and the century-year-long quality of this kind of food.
Once upon a time pasta innovated itself by changing shape…and it still does. Pasta makers have counted more than 300 shapes. However, pasta also changes its essence and, along with traditional durum wheat, it explores new meals, ingredients and cooking techniques. In order to meet the growing request for new shapes and tastes, the shelves are filled with alternative forms of pasta: multi-cereal, whole meal, gluten free, legumes and quick cooking pasta. And then durum wheat pasta, of course, but enriched with minerals, vitamins or “superfoods”.
Whole meal pasta is now a certainty more than a trend. In Italy and all over the world, its consumption is constantly growing (from 36% to 74% – Source: Ismea 2019). Beyond the need to increase the quantity of fibre in the diet, there is now a real evolution of taste: it became something satisfying to enhance in rich recipes that represent a challenge for chefs. And pasta makers know that: that is why, on average, they invest 10% of their yearly turnover in R&D (500 million euros total in the entire sector) to improve the quality and look at the future of pasta. This is done to guarantee higher and higher quality, innovation and safety to consumers.
KNOWLEDGE AND TRAINING: THE HUMAN RESOURCES OF FUTURE PASTA – Even if this century-year-long tradition meets innovative machinery, automated facilities, quality certifications and food safety protocols, all these procedures are guided by the irreplaceable human intervention. Qualified and trained personnel are pivotal to innovate; there can be no new ideas without human creativity, most of all when it comes to pasta. The head pasta maker, the pasta maker, the packaging department manager, the packaging operators, the production manager, the quality control manager and the R&D supervisor: they are the real “masters” of pasta, a group of experts that know everything about Spaghetti &Co. and who work everyday to bring innovation and certified quality to our tables.
FROM THE IDEA TO THE TABLE: HOW PASTA IS CREATED – How is a new type of pasta created and produced? It all starts from the marketing area that analyses the market and detects the new consumption trends. Then the R&D analyses raw materials and detects the mix of ingredients (raw materials and water) under food technologists’ supervision, in order to have the best quality-quantity balance and to test the stability of each ingredient. Shaping, like drying, is a delicate phase due to the risk of adhesion and crushing.
The following phase foresees sensory and qualitative “crash tests”: cooking and extra-cooking or the slide test are used to check cooking uniformity, chewing resistance and taste. Once the “recipe” of the new pasta is ready, a datasheet is made by the Quality department and a group of experts in food law certifies the compliance of labels with current laws, thanks to microbiologic-quality control systems and food safety protocols. Indeed, the final aim is to create a product that preserves quality, texture and taste during the entire production process, by preserving the thermo and photo-resistance of its natural molecules. Now, pasta can be produced and it is ready to be sold and eaten.