Supermarket sales of courgettes and root vegetables are revving up this season. 2015 could well be the year when more consumers than ever will be reaching their five (or six, or seven) a day fruit-and-vegetable consumption target, and all thanks to a new trend that sees common vegetables transformed into a substitute for gluten-addled staples.
Pasta is suffering
How the world of pasta has changed. Once, it was all about the content of high quality durum wheat which separated the good from the bad. Now the mere mention of wheat makes consumers feel twitchy. Our packaged food data show that value sales of dried pasta fell by 13% in Western Europe and by 6% in North America over the 2009-2014 review period (based on fixed US$ 2014 exchange rates and constant prices). In Germany, sales dwindled by 13%, in Sweden by 11% and in Italy, pasta’s ancestral home, values plummeted by a disconcerting 25%.
For today’s health and weight conscious consumer, pasta is beset by two increasingly unpalatable problems. First of all, it is made from gluten-containing wheat, and it is precisely gluten and wheat which a growing number of consumers are trying to avoid. The second issue is that pasta is regarded by many as nothing more than a low-in-nutrients-but-high-in-carbs vehicle for tasty sauces. Pasta has thus come to be branded as an “empty calorie” food, much like white bread, sales of which aren’t doing too well either these days.