Summary of our market study

As of 2020, the Italian pasta market remains robust and highly regarded for the quality of its products. Italy continues to be a top pasta producer and exporter, with export volumes greatly outpacing imports; in 2020, exports surged by almost 17% due to increased demand during the pandemic. The market saw a growing interest in 100% Italian wheat products and a boom in sales of pasta, particularly during the initial months of the COVID-19 lockdown, with a 45% volume increase and a 53% value increase for pasta and semolina. The demand shift towards sustainable products spurred developments in packaging and product offerings, with a notable example being the 8.5% rise in gluten-free pasta sales by the end of 2021. Market dynamics reveal a trend in mergers and acquisitions, epitomized by Barilla's acquisition of Pasta Zara for 118 million euros. Pasta prices are expected to climb, influenced by raw material and energy costs. Regulatory changes now mandate clearer labeling of the country of origin for primary ingredients. The market is segmented with significant players such as Barilla and De Cecco leading while many small artisanal producers contribute to market fragmentation. Lastly, environmental consciousness is driving the production of organic, whole wheat, and 'green' pastas, a trend primarily propelled by Generation Z's preferences.

Evolution of Italy's Pasta Market: Tradition, Health, and Sustainability

The pasta market in Italy showcases a rich tradition with significant growth and shifting consumer preferences. In examining the recent evolution of Italy's pasta market, it's clear that demand has been shaped by cultural preferences, health consciousness, and the impact of global events like the COVID-19 pandemic. Italian consumers have maintained a strong loyalty to pasta, evidenced by the considerable per capita consumption figures, standing at an average of 23 kilograms per person each year. This undying affection for pasta is further highlighted by their spending habits; the average monthly expenditure per Italian family for pasta products hovers around €11.60, showing a modest yet steady increase of around 2.1% over five years. Interestingly, the market has noted a significant rise in demand for specific pasta categories. Gluten-free pasta, for example, experienced an 8.5% surge in revenue by the end of 2021, reaching a monetary height between €45 and €50 million. The pandemic induced a notable shift towards more "Made in Italy" products, as Italians embraced the Mediterranean diet with a renewed vigor, which saw an 11% average boost in consumption of staple foods. Sustainability has also emerged as a crucial factor.

The Italian pasta sector has responded to the environmentally conscious consumer by offering products with more sustainable packaging and emphasizing green practices in production, which has resonated particularly well with the environmentally conscious Generation Z. Larger enterprises such as Barilla have capitalized on market dynamics through acquisitions, solidifying their presence within Italy's fragmented yet vibrant pasta landscape that boasts an array of small-scale entrepreneurs. Regulatory changes, mandating clearer labeling of product origins and ingredients, reflect an increased consumer desire for transparency in their pasta choices. In summary, Italy's pasta market remains a deeply rooted and growing domain, with consumer demand influenced by traditional preferences, health-driven selections, sustainability considerations, and evolving regulatory frameworks. As the market adjusts to these trends, it retains a strong and diversified offering, ranging from classical durum wheat pasta to innovative organic and gluten-free alternatives.

Key Players in the Italian Pasta Market: Tradition Meets Global Influence

As we delve into the landscape of the Italian pasta market, several major players stand out for their impact and dominance in the industry. These companies hold a significant position not just in Italy, but also in the global pasta scene, shaping consumer preferences and setting industry benchmarks.

  • Barilla: The Global Pioneer Barilla is not only a household name in Italy but also a global ambassador for Italian pasta. As a multinational, it carries the flag of Italian culinary tradition across the world. The brand's extensive product range, innovative marketing strategies, and commitment to quality have made it a leader in the pasta market. Their commitment to sustainability and environmentally friendly practices further enhance their reputation among conscientious consumers.
  • De Cecco: Quality That Transcends Borders De Cecco is another dominant force in the Italian pasta market. It is known for its high standards of quality and the traditional methods it uses to create its pasta. With a history that dates back to 1886, De Cecco has consistently kept the authenticity and heritage of pasta-making alive while embracing modern practices that ensure its relevance in today's market.
  • La Molisana: A Blend of Tradition and Innovation La Molisana is another key player that has carved a niche for itself with its premium pasta products. A slightly more recent entrant compared to Barilla and De Cecco, La Molisana has quickly established itself as a go-to brand for those seeking authentic Italian pasta. With a focus on innovation, they have introduced unique pasta shapes and varieties that cater to contemporary preferences while maintaining their commitment to traditional processes.
  • Rummo: The Pursuit of Perfection Rummo, with its meticulous attention to detail, has won the hearts of many pasta enthusiasts. The company prides itself on a ‘Methodo Rummo,’ an aspect of pasta production that emphasizes the perfect al dente texture. Their dedication to quality and the art of pasta-making have secured Rummo a loyal customer base and a respected spot in the Italian pasta market.
  • Garofalo (Ebro Food Group): A Historical Staple with a Modern Touch Lastly, but certainly not the least, Gruppo Garofalo (part of the Ebro Food Group) is another significant name in pasta production. With historical roots in the renowned pasta-making town of Gragnano, Garofalo maintains traditional techniques while employing modern approaches to distribution and marketing.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market Overview

1.1 Definition and presentation

Pasta is a food product made of flour, durum wheat semolina, salt, water and sometimes other cereals and eggs. The pasta market is structured around the production and marketing of dry pasta and fresh pasta.

Over the past two decades, global pasta production has grown 63%. The dry pasta segment is expected to continue to grow at a rate of 2.3% through 2025, while fresh pasta will continue to grow at a rate of 1.3% over the same period.

Italians are the population with the highest per capita consumption of pasta, with 23.5 kilograms per year, followed by Tunisia, with 17 kilograms, and Venezuela, with 12 kilograms. Moreover, Italy is also the main pasta producing country. It is estimated, in fact, that the export of pasta made in Italy has increased, covering 56% of the global production.

The Italian pasta market is a highly concentrated market, especially for dry pasta, where large national players such as Barilla and De Cecco prevail. As far as fresh pasta is concerned, on the other hand, there are many stores and stores specialized in the production of fresh pasta, which must be consumed in a short time after being purchased.

The market has been recently renewed thanks to the enthusiasm of consumers towards healthy pasta and to the increasing attention to the sustainability of products. With this in mind, new offerings have developed that include not only gluten-free and grain-based pasta, but also new, more sustainable packaging.

1.2 The European pasta market in slow growth

Pasta production and consumption in the European Union is currently growing slowly (***). Estimated production in **** was *.* million tons, for *.* million tons of pasta consumed [***]

Pasta production and consumption European Union, ****-****, thousands of tons Source: ****

1.3 Key figures of the pasta market in Italy

The Italian pasta market sees an annual production of about *,***,*** tons among the different types of production, for an income of about * million euros, of which **.*% for domestic consumption and **.*% obtained from exports to foreign markets. The average Italian consumption of pasta per capita stands at ** kg per person per year, ...

1.4 Import and Export Analysis

The Italian pasta market is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its products. In fact, as the following chart shows, the value of exports is much higher than imports. Every year, on average, exports are ****% more than imports, and it would thus not relevant to compare them as they show completely ...

1.5 Impact of Covid-19

The spreading of Covid-** certainly opened a crisis without equal in modern history, but it also influenced Italians' purchasing and consumption habits.

The agri-food industry, and in particular the sector of pasta raw materials, such as cereals and flours, have been mainly influenced by the increase in domestic consumption. In the ...

2 Demand Analysis

2.1 Demand Overview

The Italian pasta market, being this a traditional and culturally representative product of the "bel paese", has specific characteristics in terms of demand. Pasta is one of the basic elements of Italian cooking and it is present in all the kitchens of Italians and that is why the demand for pasta ...

2.2 Demand Drivers

The demand for pasta in Italy is connected and moving in the same direction as some demographic indicators.

Average monthly expenditure per family for pasta

In order to understand the importance of pasta in the life of families, it is appropriate to analyze the average monthly expenditure a family sustains to ...

2.3 Geographical distribution of demand

Considering the above map, it is possible to see that the difference in the average expense each family sustains to buy pasta on a monthly basis does not differ drastically with respect to the region of residence. The differences in expenditure, even if minimal, are not only related to the cost ...

2.4 New demand trends

Use of raw materials and preparation techniques

In Italy, the variety of pasta types is very wide, it is estimated that at least *** different ranges of pasta are marketed, which can be clustered into dry and fresh (***). The product was not only consumed by celiac consumers, but also by those who ...

3 Market Structure

3.1 Market structure and dynamics

In Italy, the total number of companies operating in the production of pasta and couscous (***). In the graph below, it is possible to deduce that the total number of companies in the sector has decreased compared to **** and ****, from a total of **** entities in **** to an average of **** between **** and ****; only ...

3.2 Value chain

The value chain and operation of the pasta market in Italy are summarized below.

Source: ****

3.3 Mergers and acquisitions

Given the trends of recent years in the pasta market, of great importance have been the investments of large companies, such as Barilla, in the acquisition of smaller companies. These operations are carried out for a variety of reasons such as:

To increase their portfolio To develop new synergies and economies ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Type of offer

As already mentioned, as the Italian pasta market is very traditional, there are many types. Nevertheless, pasta can be divided according to two characteristics: composition and shape

Nutritional reference values for pasta, considering as sample *** g of dry durum wheat pasta, provide about *** calories, divided in carbohydrates, proteins and fats as ...

4.2 Prices

The price of pasta depends on a number of elements. As they are prepared using flour and wheat and water, in some variations with egg as well, it is worth expecting a correlation between the variation of pasta prices and that of the price of the raw material needed.

CPI assessment ...

4.3 New trends in supply

In the last ** years the production of pasta has seen many changes, differentiating its offer and developing new ingredients to meet different needs. Italy has so far led both the change and the market.

As far as trends are concerned, the consumer of the **st century and in particular of our ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Regulatory framework

Considering the production of pasta, from a legal point of view it is worth introducing the new regulation concerning the origins and sources of ingredients. The regulation states that, within the business structure, the operator in charge of consumer information about the food must indicate the country of origin or place ...

6 Player positioning

6.1 Segmentation

  • De Cecco
  • La Molisana
  • Barilla
  • Rummo
  • Gruppo Ebro Food Gruppo Garofalo
  • Alce Nero

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Pasta production and consumption
  • Turnover evolution of companies with ATECO code: 10.73 - Production of pasta, couscous and similar farinaceous products
  • Pasta Export Value
  • Value of Pasta Import
  • Pasta Export Destinations
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Latest news

Barilla loses the second round of the cookie war - 02/04/2024
  • Date of the Beginning of the Affair: June 2023 - Barilla asks the Court of Brescia to prohibit the sale of nine types of cookies by the Tedesco and Sapori Artigianali companies for excessive similarity to its own products.
  • First Degree of Judgment: February 2024 - The Court partially grants Barilla's requests, banning the sale of certain products and the use of certain packaging due to their similarity to Mulino Bianco's products and packaging.
  • Second Degree of Judgment: March 18, 2024 - The Court of Brescia dismisses Barilla's complaint and accepts the claims of the Tedesco and Sapori Artigianali companies.
  • Arguments of the Reversal of the Judgment:
    • Volgarization of Shape Marks: The shape of the cookies in question is now considered so common that it is no longer distinctive of a particular manufacturer.
    • Packaging Disputed: Despite similarity, Tedesco's packaging is not considered likely to create undue confusion or associations with Barilla's due to the prevalence of common elements in the industry.
    • Urgency of the Proceedings: The court rejects the urgency requested by Barilla for intervention, noting that Barilla was aware of the sale of the "similar" products as early as 2016.
  • Implications for the Industry: This case highlights the importance of distinctiveness and originality in product and packaging design in an overcrowded market. It also shows the legal and business challenges in protecting these aspects in competitive environments.
Barilla launches "Accordions": six years of research for a brioche perfect for dunking - 26/03/2024
  • Research and development period: 6 years, started in 2018.
  • Production facility: Melfi, Basilicata.
  • Investment: Over 30 million euros in the last 3 years in the Melfi plant, with investments dedicated to both sustainability and innovation, including the creation of production lines for Pancakes and Fisarmoniche.
  • Sugar content: Accordions has -35% sugar compared to the average of best-selling snacks.
  • Calorie content: 120 kcal/piece.
  • Plant production capacity: Maximum capacity of 83,000 tons/year.
  • Number of employees in Melfi: More than 350.
  • Quality checks: More than 5,000 checks on finished products and 200 on raw materials per day.
  • Environmental savings over the past 10 years: 40% water savings and 27% reduction in CO2 emissions.
  • Total number of Mulino Bianco references: Over 130, which include cookies, snacks, and breads.
  • Italians' preference for dunking: 6 out of 10 Italians like to dunk snacks or cookies for breakfast.
  • Ingredients: Without coloring and preservative additives or palm oil. Contains 4% fiber.
  • Plant size: 202,000 m^2.

Price reduction by Barilla: 7% to 13%.

  • Products involved: Spaghetti No. 5, most of the pasta assortment, Mulino Bianco products (cookies, snacks, rusks, breads) and some Pavesi items (such as Gocciole)
  • Duration of the promotion: until December 31, 2024
  • Rationale: Extraordinary operation to reduce transfer prices to direct customers and distributors, achieved by lowering contract prices on a significant basket of products
  • Other strategic initiatives of Barilla: investments along its supply chains, in production sites, focus on research and development of new technologies, innovation with new product launches, communication campaigns, continuous collaboration with partners operating in the distribution sector
Barilla, a great name in Italian pasta juggling crises - 24/04/2023
  • Barilla sales: 4.5 billion euros
  • Barilla is the world's leading buyer of durum wheat
  • Sales of the group's French subsidiary: 720 million euros by 2022 (14% growth)
  • Price inflation for pasta packets: +20%
  • Harry's market share (sandwich bread): 29.7
  • Barilla has 4 bakery plants in France.
Harrys aims to conquer baguette country - 18/04/2023
  • The market has tripled in size in twenty years.
  • 30% market share for Harrys.
  • 11 billion euros in sales for traditional bakery products by 2022.
  • Steady decline in fresh bread consumption in France since 2015.
  • Harry's founded in 1970 and acquired by Italy's Barilla in 2003.
  • Share of pre-sliced and pre-packed bread consumption in France: nearly 10%.
  • Share of pre-sliced and pre-packed bread consumption in Germany: 45%.
  • Share of pre-sliced and pre-packed bread consumption in Spain: 14%.
La Molisana continues to invest in France. - 16/02/2023
  • Italy's number 3 pasta company with 8.8% market share by value
  • Sales of €250 million
  • The family business, located near Naples, has invested €100 million in its industrial facilities
  • In supermarkets, the brand entered the French market in 2020 with its Spaghetto Quadrato range
  • Available at Monoprix, Franprix, Cora, Match and Carrefour

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

De Cecco
La Molisana
Gruppo Ebro Food Gruppo Garofalo
Alce Nero

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