Focus on pasta and pasta sauces

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The recession has benefited ambient pasta more than chilled, but the reverse is true in pasta sauces… as Dolmio has found to its cost

When Italian sex bomb Sophia Loren famously purred: “Everything you see I owe to spaghetti,” she didn’t specify whether she favoured fresh or dried. But UK shoppers have been making their pasta preferences clear - and it’s not good news for the chilled stuff.

After years of strong sales, fresh pasta has gone off the boil in the past year. Sales have slumped 3.1% in value and 4.9% in volume, with filled fresh particularly badly hit – down 6.8% and 5.3% respectively [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 5 August 2012]. Conversely, dry pasta is up 4.7% in value and volume sales, while down, have only slipped by 0.9%.

So why the contrasting performances? How is the industry meeting the needs of a consumer who’s buying their pasta in one part of the store and sauce in another? And what is it doing to restore volume growth to an overall category that’s starting to look past its prime? 

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