Pasta Celebrated 20 Years 
of Global Popularity on 
World Pasta Day 2018 Dubai

Special Issue  
Welcome to this special issue of The Truth About Pasta, the monthly newsletter from the International Pasta Organization

Each month's newsletter features a new and different topic -- all pointing to The Truth About Pasta.  The truth is... pasta is healthy, sustainable, convenient, delicious, affordable, doesn't make you fat, and much, much more. Be sure to look for each new issue, with more topics and information. 

On Thursday, Oct. 25,  World Pasta Day celebrated its 20th anniversary. Since its inception, pasta's popularity has grown globally, and continues to win over new fans daily.

The city of Dubai hosted World Pasta Day 2018. The choice of this venue was a tribute to the contribution that Arab culture has made to the invention of the most famous pasta format. In the 9th-century the Arabs brought to Sicily the Ittriyya, thin strands of dried pasta, later perfected by the Italian "Vermicellari," that would become modern-day spaghetti. Pasta is extremely popular in Dubai, a global city where 88 percent of its residents are of foreign origin. Dubai, home to EXPO 2020, is a gateway to the Middle Eastern and Asian markets. 

The event, organized by the   International Pasta Organization (IPO), the Italian Association of Confectionary and Pasta Industries (AIDEPI), and Italian Trade Agency (ITA), focused on the healthful, sustainable and great-tasting aspects of pasta, as well as its growing and enduring popularity around the world. 

Moderated by Tom Urquhart, Radio and TV presenter, experts discussed the pasta market trends, its high nutritional value, its accessibility and adaptability to all populations and world cultures and, of course, its incredible taste and versatility.

Worldwide  pasta production has increased 63 percent since 1998, growing from 9.1 million tons to almost 15 million tons in that time. Today, it is reported that pasta is produced in more than 40 countries around the world, and there is a pasta for everyone to enjoy - whole grain, organic, gluten-free, specialties, and, of course, traditional. Countries that consume the most pasta are Italy (23.5 kilograms per capita), followed by Tunisia (17 kilograms), Venezuela (12 kilograms), Greece (11 kilograms), Chile (9.4 kilograms) and the United States (8.8 kilograms).

Stefano Galli (Nielsen) and Manzar Alam Khan (Nielsen) and Paolo Anselmi (GfK Italy)  provided a global perspective on pasta market trends and consumers' perceptions. In addition, they discussed emerging markets and the Gulf region and the UAE, where pasta sales are growing year by year. 

As Paolo Anselmi Vice President, GfK Italia said,  "No other food like pasta is so rich in consumers' perception, first of all, for the variety of its shapes and the multiplicity of possible pairings. A dish of pasta can effectively interpret the different values that inspire modern eating styles: respect of tradition and search for innovation, appreciation of lightness and healthiness and pleasure of intense tastes. Pasta has a sensorial, cultural, and emotional richness that makes it quite unique among global foods."

Click  here  to learn more and to download their presentations.

Pasta is Good for Your Health
Pasta is a nutritious complex carbohydrate that, when combined with vegetables and legumes and other healthy pairings, is one of the easiest and healthiest of mealtime choices. Ongoing studies on the health benefits of pasta in conjunction with many international universities continue to assess the impact of pasta consumption on weight, glycemic response and risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. John Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, and Cyril Kendall, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, presented the findings of their new study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).
John L. Sievenpiper
"Carbohydrates are increasingly coming under attack for playing a role in the epidemics of obesity and the chronic diseases that result from obesity. Not all carbohydrates, however, behave the same way. There is an increasing recognition that carbohydrate quality is more important than carbohydrate quantity in the prevention and management of obesity and major chronic diseases. This is reflected in the shift in international public health policy and clinical practice guidelines away from a focus on single nutrients to a focus on foods and dietary patterns. Our study found that pasta, a low glycemic index carbohydrate food, does not contribute to increases in body weight or body fat and even contributes to modest weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet."

Cyril Kendall
"Pasta is a healthy carbohydrate food and a key component of many of the world's traditional healthy eating patterns, such as the scientifically-proven Mediterranean Diet. Recently completed systematic reviews and meta analyses of clinical studies indicate that high carbohydrate diets that are low in glycemic index (GI), high in fibre, or emphasize healthy carbohydrate foods (whole grains, pulses, fruit) decrease cardiometabolic risk factors and are associated with decreased weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease incidence in epidemiological studies."

After their presentations, Francesca Ronca, from the IPO, summarized the Scientific Consensus Statement on Healthy Pasta Meals  and, on behalf of the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of IPO, Sara Baer-Sinnott, invited Dr. John Sievenpiper and Dr. Cyril Kendall to sign the document. The Scientific Consensus Statement has now been signed by 29 scientists from 11 different countries in the world.

Click here  to learn more and to download their presentations.

 Pasta is Tasty and Brings  People Together

World Pasta Day 2018-ICCA Dubai (video)

Pasta's increasing popularity in cultures around the globe can be attributed to its delicious versatility and inclusiveness. Pasta goes well with almost anything and appeals to almost everyone, across cultures, ages and dietary boundaries like almost no other single food. This sense of inclusiveness inspired a culinary experience offered to media and delegates by the Syrian Chef Mohammad Orfali, the Italian Chef Luca Marchini and the Argentinian Chef Victoria Andrade, together with the students chefs of the International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA Dubai), featured amongst the Top 10 Culinary Institutes in the World. They showed how pasta can meld with Arab culinary traditions as well as in any other and be interpreted like a canvas by celebrity chefs as well as by ordinary people presenting signature pasta dishes inspired by delicious and diverse recipes from different countries such as Kushari from Egypt (see recipe),Curry Pasta Salad from South Africa (recipe), and more.

After the tasteful culinary experience, hosted by Sunjeh Raja, Director & CEO of ICCA Dubai and the cake cutting to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of World Pasta Day, the Chefs joined food journalist Eleonora Cozzella, Chef Bruno Serato and Giovanni Maria Rossi, Chair of the Dubai delegation of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, for a conversation about pasta, an inclusive food that has the power to bring friends and family together to celebrate both the ordinary and the extraordinary moments in life, as the incredible story of Chef Bruno Serato testifies.

Eleonora Cozzella
"Pasta is the most universal of foods," commented Eleonora Cozzella,  author of the Pasta Revolution. " Pasta can be stored for a long time, it can be transported far away, it is inexpensive and sustainable for its production methods. It goes well with fine ingredients but can be served in very basic lunches. It is perfect for every lifestyle (carnivores, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy it) and has no religious preclusions. Dry or in broth, as a main ingredient of the dish or as a side dish of other recipes. I studied the story of pasta from its origins up to the development, admiring the fact that it is the most important example of food design. The shapes inspire every day (not professional) cooks but also the great chefs in the art of inventing new tastes. This is why I believe in the power of the Pasta Revolution."

Power of Pasta: 
2 Million Pasta Plates to Fight Hunger

World Pasta Day closed with the announcement of The Power Of Pasta global charity initiative by chef Bruno Serato, the Ambassador for the initiative promoted by IPO and pasta makers from all over the world, who committed themselves donating about 2 million pasta plates to various organizations involved in the fight against hunger around the world. 

Learn more about "The Power of Pasta" initiatives in the various countries here.


In addition to the World Pasta Day festivities in Dubai, a "Pasta Challenge"
was launched on social networks everywhere around the world. Food lovers, chefs, journalists and bloggers were encouraged to share their most inspired and popular pasta recipes, adding a "local" touch, with the hashtag #WorldPastaDay. Thank you for joining the celebration!
Paolo Barilla

"Pasta is an extraordinary product that brings joy and conviviality to the table of millions of people all over the world every day," said Paolo Barilla, IPO President, in his closing remarks "We, pasta producers, like to see how chefs continue to reinterpret it, how culinary experts describe it, and how nutritionists recommend it for a healthy, balanced diet."

Click here for World Pasta Day 2018 videos and photos, and to download the presentations.  Media kit is available here.

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