Pasta: the consumption’s increase during the lockdown

It’s good, it’s healthy, it’s rewarding. Pasta is truly a guarantee on Italian tables and during the lockdown it represented the “comfort food” par excellence. Indeed, 6 out of 10 Italians eat pasta every day, and across the border even French, Germans, English and Americans seem to particularly appreciate it. In all the countries investigated, the majority of the population consumes it on average from 1 to 4 times a week, in percentages ranging from 56% of Americans to 85% of French, passing through 61% of Germans and 71% of French. Moreover, each country has its own favorite format: short and striped in Italy, long in the UK and USA, fresh for the Germans and short and smooth for the French. However, everyone agrees on one thing: made in Italy pasta is the first choice.

This is the picture coming from the latest study by Doxa “The consumption of pasta during the lockdown” carried out for Unione Italiana Food and Agenzia ICE.

The year 2020 – sadly marked by the global health emergency – didn’t stop the global love for pasta. This is what emerges from the study “The consumption of pasta during the lockdown“, carried out on the occasion of World Pasta Day by Doxa for the Italian Food Union and the ICE Agency. The analysis was based on a sample of over 5,000 people in Italy, Germany, France, the UK and the USA. Five countries which, overall, represent more than a third of the world consumption of pasta and the first reference markets for Italian pasta.

MORE PASTA DURING THE LOCKDOWN – 1 in 4 people increased their consumption of pasta during the months of the lockdown, choosing it as a “favorite dish”, good, healthy, practical and sustainable, right in the most difficult moment.

In Italy, the love for pasta shows no weakness: everyone eats it (98%) with 23.1 kg per capita per year. And about 6 out of 10 Italians, in all age groups and with a peak in the center-south, bring it to the table every day. But, surprisingly, it is also consumed by almost all the French, Germans and British. Not to mention 9 out of 10 Americans, an incredible figure if we think that the US is the home of high-protein diets. However, in these countries the average per capita consumption of pasta is lower than in Italy (9 kg per year in the US, 8 in France and Germany, 3.5 in the United Kingdom).


Another surprising data is linked to the frequency with which pasta is served abroad: in all the countries surveyed, the majority of the population eats pasta on average from 1 to 4 times a week: 56% Americans, 85% of French, 61% of the Germans and 71% of the French. Indeed, 6 out of 100 Americans and 7 out of 100 French eat pasta every day. The reasons for this choice can be appointed to rationality and gratification: in all countries, especially according to the French, the main reason is that “it can be preserved easily and for a long time” (59%). Right after we find the fact that “it is good and eating a rewarding food always helps in difficult times” (40%), especially for Italians and Germans. Furthermore, “everyone likes it and makes you feel united” (22%). And again, they consumed more pasta because “it is a healthy food” (25%), arguing that a wellness kitchen is a plus during health emergencies such as Covid-19.

BETWEEN TRADITION AND NEW COMBINATIONS – The lockdown has (in part) changed the relationship of fans with pasta: some things were confirmed, but a few new desires to experiment emerged. For example, 26% of the sample (with peaks in Italy and France) prepared traditional and family recipes, to find comfort in an uncertain moment; 21% prepared more elaborate recipes, having more free time available; people experimented with “new recipes and new cooking methods” (20%), and they bought, especially Italian and French, “new shapes and types of pasta such as whole meal, legume, gluten-free”(15%). Among the curiosities, 10% of Americans ordered pasta with food delivery. Germany (51%) and the USA (43%) are the countries with the most “conservative” consumers who have not changed their habits.

LONG OR SHORT: THE ETERNAL SHAPE CHALLENGE – The research shows that each country has its own preferred format: Italians prefer short and striped pasta, while British and Americans prefer long pasta. Germans prefer the fresh one (stuffed or not), while French are the greatest admirers of short and smooth pasta. On one thing, almost everyone agrees: the quality of Italian pasta is not in question. And in fact, made-in-Italy-pasta is the first choice for everyone. It is preferred by 72% of British families, 68% of French families, 54% of German ones and 48% of the United States.

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