"Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti," actress Sophia Loren famously responded when asked how she maintained her trim figure.
But today, few Italians would agree. The share of women between 26 and 30 years old who believe pasta is fattening increased 26% from 2008 to 2012, according to a Nielsen survey. And among 26- to 30-year-old men, the number who think pasta makes people fat increased 16%.Which has affected--pardon the expression--the bottom line;
"It's a perfect storm," says Cinzia Marchetti , head of consumer insights at Italy's Barilla S.p.A., the world's largest pasta maker, whose Italian pasta sales fell 3% last year. "A number of factors had been there for quite a while, but they are exploding all at once now," she adds.Cosa fare? Cosa fare?
Pasta makers are attempting to respond. Barilla, which has about 35% of the Italian pasta market, has sought to beat back the idea that pasta is fattening. It cites pasta's calorie count—365 calories a portion—prominently in its television ads and promotes pasta's low glycemic count. It recently launched an app that helps count calories and is pushing lower-calorie recipes on its website. It is also about to introduce a pasta that is free of gluten, the ingredient often blamed for the bloated feeling associated with pasta.
Barilla, which is expanding abroad to counter the long-term erosion of the Italian market, has signed an agreement with McDonald's Corp. to make a series of new pasta dishes in the hope of recapturing young consumers.Me ne sono innamorato.