By Franklin Alli
Over the years, pasta remained an important part of every dinner table for weekday meals as well as for weekend feasts, worldwide.
With growing number of nuclear families, and the need for faster cooked meals, the demand for ready to eat pastas is increasing across the globe.
Besides, factors such as high nutritional content, easy-to-prepare, longer life, and versatility are driving the demand for pastas, even in the Middle Eastern and African regions.
The United States and Europe dominate the world pasta market accounting for 60 per cent of the consumption, as stated by the new market research report on Pasta market.
Per capita consumption of pasta varies among different regions, across the world. While, the people in Japan consume approximately 1.8 kilograms of pasta per year, the people in Italy consume as high as 28.6 kilograms of pasta each year. Pasta is the staple food among the population in Italy and neighbouring European countries such as, Switzerland, Greece, and France and Russia, among others.
Americans too prefer pasta to a great extent, with per capita consumption reaching 8.9 kilograms per year in the US in 2008.
At the global level, key players in pasta production include Archer Daniels Midland Company, American Italian Pasta Company, Armanino Foods of Distinction, Inc., Barilla Holding S.p.A, Campbell Soup Company, ConAgra Foods, Inc., Fiori-Bruna Pasta Products, Inc., General Mills, Inc., Nissin Foods Holdings Co., Ltd., Sbarro, Inc., and Strom Products Ltd., among others.Â However, leading local manufacturers of pasta in Nigeria are Dangote Group, Flour Mills, and Honeywell including the new entrant, BUA Group.
â€œThe pasta market in Nigeria is still very virgin.Â Of the 150 million population, not up to 20 per cent have pasta as a staple in their daily meal schedule,â€ noted Groupâ€™s Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Chimaobi Madukwe.
â€œWith Nigeria becoming increasingly urban, pasta with a standard way of cooking which involves quick boiling in water for a couple of minutes and it is ready for consumption along with different types of sauces, oil herbs and spices is the way to go for a nation becoming increasingly mobile,â€ he said.
He disclosed that while their immediate focus is to provide new employment for both skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled Nigerians through the project, their ultimate goal is to make Nigerians have preference for pasta (instead of rice) like consumers in other regions of the world.
In fact, the local pasta industry is waiting for the entry of BUA into the market.
Although the factory which is valued at N7.5 billion(about $50 million) is still being constructed, yet distributors and consumersâ€™ excitement for the product are high.Â They are curious of how BUA spaghetti and macaroni will look like in terms of packaging, price and aroma.
An analyst says these three factors are key to the brandâ€™s easy entry into the market and acceptances by the end users.
According to Madukwe, in order to ensure products quality, the company has hired a renowned Italian company and one of the leading pasta production lines in the world, FAVA, to carry out its pasta project, whose still structure was imported from Turkey.
â€œThe project will be completed by October this year. All the equipment are on the ground.Â That is why we are optimistic of our completion date,â€ he said. He further noted that there are more than 600 different shapes of spaghetti produced worldwide, many of which BUA will gradually introduced into the Nigerian market.
â€œThe factory after completion would have wheat silo, Semolina factory, and pasta production plant including a massive water treatment plant to supply the entire factory with pure and wholesome water.Â , said Project Manager, Anthonie Van der Biji.
According to him, the Semolina plant alone, has the capacity to produce 500 tonnes daily, while the pasta factory is able to produce 240 tonnes of pasta per day, and about 6,000 tonnes of pasta per month, stressing that the plant is powered by four gas power plants.
Meanwhile, global pasta market has been projected to reach 17.9 million tons by 2015, from the current figure of 12.3 million tons.
The report titled â€œPasta: A Global Strategic Business Reportâ€ announced by Global Industry Analysts, Inc., provides a comprehensive review of industry overview, product overview, product introductions/innovations, profiles of major players, and recent industry activity. The report analyses market data and analytics in terms of volume consumption for the US, Canada, Japan, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Rest of World markets.