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From Italian icon to global dish, pasta sales are booming worldwide

25/06/2021 – Event / TUTTOFOOD / Exhibition / Italy / Pasta / Sales / Exports / HostMilano

From Italian icon to global dish, pasta sales are booming worldwide

The pasta sector has always occupied a leading place at TUTTOFOOD, and when the show returns in October 2021 in conjunction with HostMilano, the segment’s producers and distributors will gather in a dedicated TUTTOPasta area. Ahead of the event, its organisers explore pasta’s market prospects. 

In 2020, exports of pasta and bakery products were characterised by strong growth, with the most positive results recorded from Italian province of Parma (+€43 million to France) and above all, from the territories of Naples, Avellino and Campobasso to the United States. 

While pasta was already a beloved staple in many countries pre-pandemic, the succession of lockdowns that made consumers spend more time at home, and prompted us all to cook more, further established pasta as a firm favourite. As such, consumption of pasta boomed in many countries in 2020, and the healthy growth figures look set to continue. 

Statista predicts that, after touching almost US$123 billion in 2021, global sales of pasta will continue to grow by 2.35 per cent annually over the next four years. For the current year, the largest global market is expected to be China – worth almost $25 billion. On average, each global consumer eats 7.7 kg of pasta and spends $16.30 dollars on it annually.


According to data from Unione Italiana Food – partner of TUTTOFOOD – 2020 was also a golden year for domestic consumption. Over 50 million more packages were sold in Italy last year, with peaks of around +40 per cent in March and +10 per cent between October and November, while exports expanded 16 per cent to over €3.1 billion. The USA became the world's largest consumer of Italian pasta, thanks to a record +40 percent growth in exports, overtaking France (+4.3 per cent) and Germany (+16 per cent). Impressive growth also came from exports to the UK (+19 per cent) in spite of Brexit-related disruptions.

Expanding the repertoire of home-based chefs


Pasta was one of the favourites in the shopping cart during the 2020 lockdowns. But how are consumer habits changing and what products do they demand? The possibility of cooking more at home has undoubtedly strengthened the self-esteem of many Italians who have tried innovative recipes and more unusual products to expand their home-based repertoire. 

One observation has been the greater propensity for consumers to buy special products for gratification and enjoyment, cooking something new and experimenting new dishes, while also occasionally relying on deep-frozen fresh pasta – a practical alternative that is nonetheless appreciated for its appearance, flavour and texture similar to hand-made production. Deep-frozen fresh pasta has seen good demand internationally, thanks to its below-zero storage that has allowed many production companies to cross Italian borders, with the guarantee of exporting a preservative-free product that is good and healthy.

But 2020 was not just the year of the pasta consumption boom. Even a niche product such as gnocchi experienced positive consumption figures during this unusual period. In addition to the timeless classic potato gnocchi combined with various sauces, the sector has introduced alternative proposals over the past year, including stuffed gnocchi. 

Indeed, new formats have been the order of the day for consumers, who are increasingly seeking out different tastes and flavours, but also differentiated packaging in terms of its sustainability and recyclability.


At TUTTOFOOD 2021 – held in conjunction with HostMilano at fieramilano from 22–26 October – industry leaders will be the stars of the dedicated TUTTOPASTA area.

For updated information, visit:

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
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