Professional Pasta Aprile/Giugno 2023

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The ICARDA durum wheat program New approaches to pasta production N. 2 April / June 2023 Year XXVIII POSTE ITALIANE SpaSpedizione in abbonamento postaleAut. n. 1429/2020 del 7.08.2020 –Stampe periodiche in REGIME LIBERO THE INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE FOR PASTA PRODUCERS Professional PASTA Avenue media ®

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Sustainability trends in pasta packaging



Pasta and innovation: opportunity or challenge?


“New taste for pasta with Venus’ health”


The ICARDA durum wheat program to combat climate change

DEPARTMENTS Facts & news Supplier news Historical news 20 28 8 12 5 Avenue media ® 42 36 20 Year XXVIII - N. 2 April / June 2023 28

Sustainability trends in pasta packaging

With the adoption of the European Strategy for Plastics in a circular economy in 2018, the Commission lays the foundations to a new economy, where the design and production of plastics and plastic products take place in a sustainable way, meeting reduction, repair, reuse and recycling needs, concepts at the heart of the waste hierarchy, the circular economy and the beating heart of the European Green Deal, which will contribute

to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. The packaging of food products, including pasta, plays a fundamental role, as it protects the product, ensures its preservation over time, makes it possible for it to be consumed at a later date than the date of production and has an essential communication function. Today, packaging must meet new needs that are related to environmental, social and economic sustainability. For food companies, using sustainable

April / June 2023 5 Professional PASTA EDITORIAL
The creation of packaging for the food sector cannot ignore the logic of sustainable development

packaging means redesigning the whole supply chain to reduce its environmental impact. From this perspective, the key innovation appears to be the use of biodegradable, recyclable and renewable materials, primarily paper and cardboard.

Just few weeks ago the “blue box,” the new packaging of Barilla’s classic pasta shapes, won the Best Packaging Award 2023. No more transparent plastic window, 100% recyclable packaging produced with cardboard from responsibly managed forests, showing Barilla’s commitment to sustainability and the development of solutions aimed at reducing its impact on the planet. However, there are several successful “case histories” on the market and packaging reengineering paths undertaken in recent years by Italian food companies, including pasta producers. Generally speaking, the guiding principle to be inspired by is “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:” reduce waste, use recycled materials or design the packaging so that it can be recycled.

Let us retrace some of these “case histories” together. Since 2021, La Molisana has been using a type of material for the pack that can be disposed of with paper and comes from paper mills participating in the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) programme. In order to protect the pack and the product, a very thin plastic film is inserted in the inner layer that respects the parameters for paper disposal and is mechanically decoupled once more during recycling.

Also Rummo pasta factory in Benevento has replaced its old packs with new ones that can be disposed of with paper since 2021. Felicia, a brand of Andriani Benefit Corporation, presented to the market for the first time back in 2021 its new clear, simple and truly distinctive image with an innovative totally recyclable packaging, designed by 6.14

Creative Licensing, which is now on the shelves of large retailers. In early 2022, Pastificio Felicetti introduced a new sustainable packaging, made of 100% pure natural cellulose paper certified PEFC (Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) and sourced from responsibly managed forests. This packaging was designed to guarantee high performance in terms of resistance to product weight and packaging lines, with water-based heat sealing. Felicetti also commissioned research from the University of Trento to investigate the extent to which paper packaging is more sustainable than plastic. After a LCA analysis of the two solutions, researchers certified that paper packaging significantly reduces the environmental impact for the two key indicator categories: -30% global warming, -57% consumption of non-renewable sources. Pasta Armando, the premium brand of the De Matteis pasta factory, fully respects the environment and protects the values of sobriety, simplicity and avoidance of waste that characterise it; since 2022 this brand has transformed its packaging thanks to a totally recyclable FSC certified material. In the name of sustainability also the new Sgambaro packaging is made of FSC-certified 100% virgin cellulose fibre paper. This packaging won the ADI Packaging Design Award 2022, awarded by the Association for Industrial Design “for innovation, clarity of information and the use of fully recyclable eco-friendly materials.” An entirely compostable packaging, the result of teamwork lasting for almost three years, is the one created by Novamont, Gualapack, Ilip and Gruppo Poligrafico Tiberino Novara for Pastificio Fontaneto. An innovation aimed at removing plastic trays and replacing them

with containers that can be recycled together with wet waste. This project implied replacing the traditional multilayer plastic packaging with a fully Ok Compost-certified (Tüv Austria) multi-part compostable pack : a 100% biodegradable and compostable Novamont bioplastic tray produced by Ilip with a multilayer film containing MaterBi produced by Gualapack and a compostable label produced by Gruppo Poligrafico Tiberino.

In 2021 Entroterra, a company from the Marche region - La Pasta di Camerino brand, launched a new line of fresh filled and long pasta contained in a 100% recyclable and sustainable pack: the tray is completely made of paper. Liguori, the IGP Gragnano biodynamic pasta, uses 100% recyclable Aticelca 501 certified paper packaging. And finally, Pastificio Garofalo has recently presented its new packaging made of 30% recycled plastic, obtained from the chemical recycling of plastic packaging waste. Pastificio Garofalo is the first in the pasta sector to use recycled plastic obtained from chemical recycling, a process that allows pyrolysis oil to be obtained from the decomposition of the polymers that make up traditional plastic packaging waste, turning them into the raw material that can be used to produce new plastic, just like virgin materials. This process is different from the mechanical process used so far and offers unprecedented recycling possibilities for waste fractions that are currently difficult to recycle, such as household plastics. In order to facilitate the ecological transition, fight against pollution and waste disposal, pasta manufacturers are also converging towards increasingly innovative and environmentally sustainable packaging solutions.

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Meatless Farm launches “UK’s First” branded plant-based meat-filled pasta

Meatless Farm has launched a selection of new products in the UK, including what it claims are the country’s first branded plant-based meat-filled pastas. Two varieties of pasta are available - Beef, Red Wine & Porcini Mushroom Girasole and No-Duja Ravioli. Both are high-protein, low in sugar, and can be prepared in 4-5 minutes. The Beef, Red Wine and Porcini Mushroom Girasole are described as “perfect for date night’ by the brand, which adds that the huge vegan pasta parcels are ‘bursting with flavor, without compromising the planet.” Its No-Duja Ravioli offer a quick fix for pasta cravings, says the brand, which adds that the “smoky and spicy ‘No-Duja’… pairs perfectly with the delicate plant-based pasta.”

Italy’s government calls crisis meeting over surging pasta prices

Italy’s Industry Minister Adolfo Urso called on Thursday for a crisis meeting over prices for pasta, after they jumped by more than double the national inflation rate. Urso’s ministry said the cost of spaghetti and other pasta products rose year-on-year by 17.5% in March despite a drop in wheat prices. In that month, Italian EUharmonized consumer prices (HICP) rose overall by 8.1%. The crisis talks will be chaired by a government-appointed watchdog on inflation on May 11, and will mark the first meeting of a new committee set up to monitor unusual price movements, the ministry said. Competent authorities and trade and consumer associations will take part in it, it added. Italian inflation rose by even more in April to 8.8% year-on-year, driven by a fresh spike in energy prices, national statistics agency ISTAT said on Tuesday. “Core” inflation, net of fresh food and energy, was stable at 6.8% year-on-year.

Tesco announces further price cuts on pasta and cooking oil

Tesco has announced another round of price cuts on its ownbrand pasta and cooking oil as it sees deflation making its way through to cupboard essentials. The supermarket recently confirmed that its own brand pasta has been reduced by 15p both in stores and online, while vegetable and sunflower oil are now also up to 15p cheaper. It comes after Tesco previously announced price drops for customers on essentials such as milk, bread and butter within recent weeks. Newly reduced items include dinnertime favorites like penne, fusilli, macaroni and spaghetti, with 28 of Tesco’s 500g own-brand dried pastas in total having been reduced from 95p to 80p. One liter of vegetable oil now costs £ 1.85 down from £ 1.99, while sunflower oil has been cut from £ 2.40 to £ 2.25.

Dry pasta called fresh pasta: UFC-Que Choisir versus Panzani

UFC-Que Choisir faces pasta giant Panzani. The French consumer association announced on Friday 12 May that it had filed a complaint against Panzani for “deceptive commercial practices.” After analysing Panzani packages sold in French shops and the French association believes that the group markets fresh pasta, when in fact it is dry pasta with a higher price tag. In fact, when one reads carefully what is written on the packaging, a sentence in smaller font reads: “Dry pasta as good as a fresh pasta.” Underneath it says: “kneaded and shaped like fresh pasta.” With this technique, UFC-Que Choisir believes that Panzani intentionally suggests to his customers that it is fresh pasta, when in fact it is dry pasta. “Panzani tries to influence consumers’ behaviour in order to get them to buy dry pasta [...] at a higher price,” UFC-Que Choisir’s lawyers explain.

8 Professional PASTA FACTS & NEWS April / June 2023

Eataly celebrates pasta in New York

You write “Icons of Eataly” and you read celebration of pasta, the “queen” of Italy’s top food products. Eataly is launching a new sixmonth project, from 12 May to the end of November 2023, to bring a taste of some authentic recipes to the United States and celebrate Italy, which is increasingly becoming a destination for culinary travels, as well as for its natural beauty and history. This initiative will present a programme with special dishes, lessons provided by starred chefs as well as events dedicated to that humble combination of flour and water that has become one of Italy’s greatest culinary successes. Each month, Eataly will release a limited-time pasta dish aimed at telling the broad history of pasta from northern to southern Italy.

Revolution in US instant food with the “Italian” Pasta Noodles

No more pasta stuck to the bottom of the pot

Paolo Internicola, an entrepreneur from Palermo who has lived in the US for many years, is making a name for the made-in-Italy food industry in the United States thanks to an innovative product that combines easy preparation, top-quality ingredients, and Italianmade technology. The idea behind Pasta Noodles is simple: offer some real “al dente” Italian pasta (firm to the bite), ready in minutes, without compromising taste or quality. Internicola has worked to create a product that meets both the Italian culinary tradition and the needs of demanding consumers. The result is a product that is already winning the hearts of pasta lovers across the United States.

As it is well known, more than 20 kilos of pasta are consumed in Italy every year: a number that is not surprising, since it is an iconic Made-in-Italy food. Moreover, even those who are not geniuses in the kitchen are able to prepare at least a spaghetti dish. At the same time, something rather unpleasant can happen when cooking pasta. In fact, it may have happened to many that pasta gets stuck to the bottom of the pot during cooking. However, there is no need to worry because there is a trick that will help solve this small problem. What you need to do is to add a little bit of oil as soon as the water boils and before throwing pasta into the pot. In fact, the oil will create a sort of film on the water surface that will not allow the various pieces of pasta to stick together.

Garofalo, a new digital project for an international audience

It is called Italian Mothertongue - Learn, Speak, RepEAT, and it is the new digital project that Garofalo has launched for an international audience. The aim of this project is to make the different shapes of Pasta Garofalo known outside Italy, starting from the correct pronunciation of the brand. To do this, Garofalo has chosen to produce a stream of Instagram reels with which a couple of meta humans, alternating in video with “sing-along” audio, will convey the names of Pasta Garofalo’s iconic pasta shapes such as spaghetti, farfalle, fusilli, mafalda corta, casarecce, elicoidali and tagliatelle in a clear and simple way. The Italian Mothertongue project uses the special virtual assistant technology, and the reels will be available on Instagram pages in the countries where Pasta Garofalo can be found.

10 Professional PASTA April / June 2023 FACTS & NEWS

Pasta and innovation: opportunity or challenge?

Is there a recipe for innovation?

A great recipe asks for the appropriate high-quality ingredients

Here few ingredients needed to make sure that innovation happens: “the arms,” meaning the continuous effort made to build knowledge and skills in the area one wants to innovate, “the mind,” meaning intellectual curiosity and a never-ending desire to learn, and finally “the heart,” meaning passion and energy. Starting from these ingredients and their combination, a recipe is created that is unique because it encompasses the sensitivity and peculiar look of each person, group or company in defining the proportions, dosing and nuances that make each result different from any other. To introduce the concept of innovation in the

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pasta industry, I like to quote Federico Fellini, a genius who admirably said “life is a combination of magic and pasta.” It is the love for pasta that drives the desire to keep providing innovation, to which two fundamental questions are always related: innovate for whom and why innovate. Very often innovation is a difficult and frustrating process, which brings obstacles and failures with it, although “failure is not the opposite of success. It is stepping stone to success” (Arianna Huffington). However, mistakes, which bring unavoidable pain, are useful as they contribute to increasing and accelerating the process of acquiring knowledge on the topic around which one wants to innovate.

Does the pasta category need innovation?

Pasta is a traditional product, so deeply rooted in Italian gastronomic culture. This might imply that there is no room or need for innovation. Moreover, today’s tradition was innovation yesterday. And today’s innovation that is relevant and will stand the test of time will become tradition tomorrow. There is no industry without innovation, just as there is no time without change. So, pasta cannot escape being innovated, even if it is debatable whether this is a need or rather an unavoidable law of natural evolution of tastes, consumption, culture and people. Pasta innovation must surely be ingrained the desires, if not the needs, of consumers. Identifying the directions of taste evolution is

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a key factor in understanding which direction innovation should take, in a significant and lasting manner. Furthermore, it is our responsibility to combine innovation with sustainability: today people also want products that are good for their health and contribute positively to the environment.

How to innovate pasta

I count on having conveyed what I am convinced of and what I have experienced directly about innovation: we cannot stop the natural tension towards “new” and change that is inherent in every product, in every category and in every area of our lives. Either we drive change and promote innovation, or we will be changed and affected by what is new that will shake our certainties and change our horizons. Taking a closer look at pasta, we can define it as the combination of 3 foundational elements: 1) the ingredients, which in the most classic version can be traced back to one sole raw material: durum wheat semolina. In other words, “what pasta is made of;” 2) the

technology, or the production process, i.e. the transformation phases that go from raw material to pasta production. In simple terms, “how pasta is made;” 3) the design and geometry of pasta. Here we mean “the shape of pasta” which defines how it appears to the eye and how it feels in the mouth once prepared. Let us start precisely with the shape and geometric characteristics of pasta, i.e. the design. There are more than 300 different shapes of pasta on the market, rising to over 1000 if we include all the possible variants and types - current and past -, and yet there is a hidden power, deep and magical, in the design of pasta that leads people to enthusiastically welcome and appreciate every and each new shape. Each shape, each type of pasta gives a different sensory experience. Therefore, pasta design innovation implies enhancing some sensorial and texture characteristics, such as thickness, shape, curve and surface. Every time a unique experience is delivered through a different pasta shape, people immediately perceive it as new, and over time that pasta can become familiar and truly loved if it meets certain appreciation criteria, sometimes explicit and entirely measurable, and sometimes not even fully decoded. A delight that consumers find

when they see, taste and enjoy a great product that is well-done and excellently executed, meaning “360° good,” including aesthetically beautiful, functionally perfect, gastronomically delicious. It is very inspiring to make people participate in this innovation process for pasta design. We recently asked design specialists to imagine the new shapes they would like to see on the market. The competition was enthusiastically accepted: we received proposals from more than a thousand designers from all over the world and around 2500 projects were submitted. Pasta design is still a key factor that stirs up people’s interest and passion, both in imagining a new pasta and in turning it into a real product, and above all in fully enjoying and sharing it on the plate. And it is precisely with this spirit that Cascatelli were born. After at least three years of research and testing, Dan Pashman, The Sporkful podcast host, created what he considers a perfect new pasta shape: pasta curls with wavy festoons on their sides. A short pasta shape that, according to its creator, combines the qualities of different shapes and geometries that have been brought together in a completely new way here. According to Cascatelli inventor, this kind of pasta provides the highest level of satisfaction in

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Connecting pasta innovation with people’s desires
3D-printed pasta (BluRhapsody® by Barilla)

three appreciation criteria, which are incidentally his neologisms:

- Sauceability - how readily the sauce adheres to the shape, thanks to the rough surface and certain angles that pick up more sauce;

- Forkability - how easily it is to get the shape on the fork;

- Toothsinkability - how satisfying it is to bite into the pasta, linked to the uneven thickness and to the profile that provide contrasts and greater complexity when chewing.

profile is inspired by rigatone, with the same motion of fusillo. Just like a sheet of papyrus paper, its shape rolls up and unrolls to accommodate the sauce and generate a pleasant and intense surprise from the very first bite.” Innovation can also concern the production process. We are naturally inclined to think that technology is about science, while design is closer to art. Art and

science get together even in “the way pasta is made;” we realise this as soon as we enter a pasta factory and breathe in the movements and the operations of a process that can be summarised in the main three phases of kneading, extruding and drying: all the technological characteristics and sensory values of the product merge, immediately turning into an extraordinary and ever-changing culinary experience. What is certain is that there is no right or wrong process for making pasta. There is an optimal process for the type and shape of pasta you want to produce because it enhances the culinary values you want to give the product. In my opinion, the innovation proposed by 3D-printed pasta (BluRhapsody® by Barilla) lies as much in the production technology (both fantastic and futuristic!) as in the possibility of revolutionising pasta consumption itself, proposing it as “finger food.” Hence, 3D-printed pasta becomes the protagonist not only of a traditional meal, but also in alternative and more unstructured moments of consumption.

Barilla Papiri is another example of innovation in pasta design, combined with acknowledged aesthetic appeal and exceptional organoleptic performance. A new and amazing shape, born from the creative collaboration with Italian designer Walter De Silva, who commented: “In my career, I have designed people’s cars. With Barilla, I designed Italian pasta for people all over the world. Papiri is where innovation meets tradition. Its

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Each pasta shape delivers a unique sensory experience
3D-printed pasta (BluRhapsody® by Barilla) Gran Fusillo Voiello

As such, there is magic in pasta, which helps to discover the magic of life by being the perfect companion to its most beautiful and joyful moments. The other area for innovation is about the ingredients, the recipe. Pasta is incredibly simple in its classical composition. Semolina pasta is simply obtained from durum wheat which is ground into semolina and then, once kneaded and extruded, it takes the form of pasta. What in the durum wheat can make the difference in the finished product? Undoubtedly, the quantity and quality of proteins (gluten), the colour and the vitreousness are quality characteristics on which the supply chain works unceasingly in an effort of continuous improvement.

Innovating with ingredients

right up to the table. An example on this is Aureo, the Italian Top Quality wheat used for Voiello

ambitious and far-sighted research and development project that began over twenty years ago, which led Barilla in the United States in 2004 - just when it was reaching almost 20% of market share, thus becoming the leading brand in the US pasta market - to launch Pasta PLUS, a highly innovative line of pasta that offers the benefits of proteins, fibres and healthy Omega-3 fats through entirely natural ingredients such as cereals and pulses. In recent years, we have thoroughly reassessed this product taking into account consumers’ growing awareness of environmental sustainability, and have introduced a revised version which gives more emphasis to proteins. Now Protein + pasta is made only with vegetable proteins from pulses, i.e. a 100% plant-

As a forward-looking conclusion, I love to take up an enlightening quote from Pietro Barilla who recalled, while referring to innovation and where to turn our eyes: “Everything is done for the future, forge ahead with courage.”

TREND April / June 2023
Cascatelli Papiri Barilla

“New taste for pasta with Venus’ health”

Riso Scotti presents its new brand

Pasta Venere from 100% Italian supply chain

Professional Pasta interviewed Umberto Rovati and Marcella Cattaneo, respectively head of marketing for rice and pasta dishes and head of R&D at Riso Scotti for Pasta Venere, an original innovation in the pasta market. Pasta Venere is segmented into the four most popular and widespread shapes - i.e. spaghetti, penne, fusilli and rigatoni - and produced with 25% black Venus rice flour and 75% wholemeal semolina that is 100% Italian. Pasta Venere is characterised by the combination of an exclusive and unique taste and a strong health&wellness connotation, since it is a wholemeal product and a source of fibre.

You have recently entered the pasta market by launching Pasta Venere and have positioned yourself in the whole wheat pasta segment. Why did you decide to target this market segment? First of all, we carried out a thorough analysis of the pasta market, which is a constantly growing and surprisingly dynamic market, so we thought it was essential to enter it with an innovative and unique proposal that was able to stand out on the shelf by brand and “colour.”

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Consumers have helped us understand the sensory experience linked to pasta consumption, but also the fact that pasta is increasingly considered as a healthy food, both for the consumer and the environment. Therefore, taste and health have become the elements

on which this brand had to be created. In fact, it is important to bear in mind that Pasta Venere was not created as a Riso Scotti product, but rather as a real brand, the main characteristic of which being the taste experience strongly based on health and wellness.

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Pasta Venere is made of 25% Venus rice flour and 75% wholemeal semolina. What taste and aromas does this formulation bring to pasta ?

Pasta Venere is a new taste of whole-wheat pasta with the nutritional benefit of Venus rice. In Italy, there is no coloured pasta culture; however, Pasta Venere manages to stand out on the shelf by colour and brand. It is a 100% Italian pasta that can be combined with any type of sauce, an “everyday” pasta with important values: taste and wellness. Semolina and Venus rice flour are 100% Italian and the supply chain is fully certified. This

formulation includes the use of 25% brown rice flour that does not weaken the technological properties of the finished product provided by semolina thanks to a careful and strictly balanced technological process. The aroma and taste bring to mind the typical Venus rice, however this product is not intended to be a niche pasta, but rather to bring new values to an everyday pasta.

produces a less sticky dough compared to classic rice flour, coarser and more granular, and therefore able to produce, together with semolina, a finished product that is perfect with the sauce. From a nutritional point of view, pasta provides fibre and antioxidants - anthocyaninstypical of venus rice, as well as minerals such as phosphorus and magnesium. The interesting element is that, as mentioned before, this type of pasta can be combined with any sauce: from a classic “tomato and basil” to typical regional recipes. Therefore this kind of pasta adds value to the sauce, and not the other way round.

Shaping and pasta drying: how do these two processes take place?

The Pasta Venere project was conceived in mid-2021. The optimisation process was complex; we carried out several tests before finding the right formulation of wholemeal semolina and Venus rice that would guarantee a pasta with excellent technological characteristics and new sensory properties. To facilitate this, we applied a rougher drawing process. Three short shapes and one long shape were then optimised, trying to follow classic pasta trends to unite Italy from North to South and create a popular national pasta.

Talking about technical characteristics, what does pasta look like after cooking? Starchholding capacity, texture, clumping: what are the main characteristics that emerge upon tasting?

First of all, it should be pointed out that this is not a gluten-free pasta. Adding rice flour to semolina does not affect its technological properties. Therefore, we have applied an internal process for rice flour that

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Venus rice flour and semolina are 100% Italian
Marcella Cattaneo - Head of R&D at Riso Scotti for Pasta Venere Umberto Rovati - Head of marketing for rice and pasta dishes

Did you cooperate with any chefs in the conception and making of this product?

The first step was, of course, to involve consumers and understand what they wanted.

We are currently in contact with some chefs and a restaurant in Pavia for B2B promotion of the product. The chefs are interested in understanding how to use this new product in the best possible way. As a result, a very fruitful exchange of ideas has taken place. Our aim is still to strengthen our presence in the catering industry, which is certainly very attentive to wellness and sustainability.

What will be the next step after Pasta Venere? Are you planning any other investments in the pasta sector?

We are currently engaged in a major promotion and communication activity. Moreover, Tuttofood 2023 international fair will promote the entry of our product into the foreign market. However, the future of Pasta Venere is still to be written.

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Pasta Venere aims to combine taste and wellness

The ICARDA durum wheat program to combat climate change

Providing stress tolerant varieties to partners to adapt farming systems in Africa and Asia

The international center for agricultural research in the dry areas (ICARDA; was funded in 1977 in Beirut, Lebanon under the umbrella of the CGIAR. ICARDA’s mandate was to support via scientific innovations the dryland farming systems with a primary focus in Africa and Asia. Due to the unique importance of durum wheat especially in North Africa, Ethiopia, and West Asia, a breeding program for this crop was immediately established since inception.

The history of ICARDA breeding

Until 2003, the durum breeder position at ICARDA was funded by

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CIMMYT, with the specific task to select among and recombine the Mexican germplasm to better adapt to the dryland conditions. The initial breeding activities of ICARDA were then to test among F5 populations developed by CIMMYT. This effort resulted in the first release in 1984 in Algeria of “Waha,” a cultivar later released also in Syria as “Cham 1” and which still occupies large cultivated areas. Soon after, the first variety originated by the crossing and selection program of ICARDA in Syria was achieved in 1989 in Morocco under the name “Omrabi,” later released in more than 17 countries because of its drought tolerance. This unique variety was obtained by combining the CIMMYT elite line “Jori” and the Syrian landrace

“Haurani,” and the success of this type of exotic cross marked the future of the ICARDA breeding program. In 2003 CIMMYT encountered some financial difficulties that resulted in the need of ICARDA to fully cover all breeding activities. Since then, the two centers operate in partnership but conduct independent breeding efforts with different strategies and goals. The ICARDA program primarily focuses in developing varieties for the drier zones, capable of withstanding the major local pests and the common severe droughts and heat waves. To achieve this, it utilizes extensively its genetic richness conserved in the genebank, taking advantage of the rare landraces and wild relatives to

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integrate novel traits for adaptation. Furthermore, ICARDA relies heavily on its national partners to conduct jointly field testing across more than 30 locations and 20 countries each year, ensuring the specific adaptation of the germplasm combined with strong stability. Over its 45 years of service, the ICARDA program has resulted in the release of more than 150 varieties across 23 countries.

The program of Dr Miloudi Nachit

From 1982 until 2014 (30 years), the durum breeding program was led by Dr. Miloudi M Nachit. Dr. Nachit used the stations of Tel Hadya in Syria and Terbol in Lebanon to deploy a breeding method he defined as “doublegradient selection,” which used different planting dates and irrigation amounts to substantially

developing varieties for drier zones

create six different environments in the early generations of selection. Dr. Nachit also pioneered the use of molecular markers in breeding, and published a paper on RFLP (restriction fragment length polymorphism) in durum wheat already in 1996. In 2009, he was knighted by the King of Morocco for his contribution in protecting Moroccan farmers from the threat of the Hessian fly (together with other Moroccan scientists). In 2015, the release of his variety “Utuba” in Ethiopia has saved the national durum production from the devastating

effect of stem rust. In Syria, the breeding effort had resulted in 2009 to a country shift from an importer to a net exporter of durum grains. Unfortunately, the civil situation in Syria has obliged the ICARDA breeding program to relocate to Morocco in 2012, where it operates since.

Continuing from the past to the future

In 2013, Dr. Filippo M. Bassi joined Dr. Nachit’s team as an associate breeder, and in July 2014 he took over the program. In this transition the greatest strengths of the ICARDA program were further boosted, such as the establishment of even stronger partnerships and the continued heavy reliance on diverse germplasm to adapt to ever more challenging climatic conditions. The molecular work was expanded, with the ICARDA

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The ICARDA program focuses in

program becoming in 2022 the first durum program to be entirely run using the combination of genomic selection and speed breeding. The integration of stability analysis across actual diverse locations has now replaced the approach of simulating environments, taking full advantage of the natural environmental diversity that occurs in Morocco. New and more complex challenges have now been taken onboard, such as the will to increase beyond 60 gr the 1000-kernel weight or the goal to

generate germplasm resistant against root or crown rot ( Fusarium spp. ). Additional examples of this farreaching vision can be the bestowing of the OLAM Prize for Innovation in Food Security obtained by developing varieties

capable of withstanding growing temperature of up to 40 °C from planting to harvest along the Senegal River, or the recent achievement of deep rooted varieties capable of producing over 2 tons per hectare despite only 200 mm of total rainfall.

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“Utuba” variety in Ethiopia has saved the national durum production

New challenges

With the climatic conditions changing ever so rapidly, resulting in dramatic combinations of heat, drought and pests’ stresses, the work of breeders has become more important than ever. It has become key to generate new germplasm primed with the genetic plasticity to adapt to

changing conditions, maximizing productivities in good years while ensuring stable productions in

bad ones. Maintaining the farms productive in the next decades will depend heavily in achieve these goals.

The ICARDA program is uniquely positioned to do so for durum wheat, thanks to its abundant genetic diversity, its field-testing network located in zones already experiencing tremendous climatic changes, and the deployment of the latest breeding methodologies. Nevertheless, climate change is the greatest challenge to ever be faced by modern humanity. Defeating it requires a combined effort by all: scientists, extension agents, educators, farmers, food producers, politicians, consumers and many more. ICARDA is ready to pick up this challenge and to partner with all to make it a success: would you join us in this fight?

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Defeat climate change requires a combined effort by all

Driving the future of food with sustainable innovations

After six years, Interpack, one of the most important trade fairs for processing and packaging technologies in the world, will again open its doors to the industry on May 4-10, 2023, in Düsseldorf, Germany. Leading Swiss technology group, Bühler is back in full swing, showcasing not only its cutting-edge process engineering for cocoa, chocolate, coffee, nuts, wafer, biscuit, pasta, and sustainable proteins but its commitment to serving customers throughout their innovation journey, from project ideation, delivery of the solutions, optimization of the lines, to maintenance. Tense supply chains, soaring energy and raw materials prices along with effects of the war in Ukraine have been impacting businesses. With the lack of raw materials, countries and companies are investing in new solutions to improve productivity and self-

sufficiency. At the same time, consumers worldwide are becoming more aware of health and sustainability, making more conscious food choices.

“Under the motto ‘Driving the future of food - with sustainable solutions,’ we not only propose solutions that address key sustainability issues, food security, and consumer trends, but also inspire our customers to innovate. We support them in every step of their journey, from the project idea, conception, to product development, we develop and deliver the solutions, and move on together with services and maintenance of the lines,” says Thomas Bischof, Global Head of Business Development Consumer Foods at Bühler Group. Together with its customers and partners, with the common desire to accelerate impact across industries and on global scale, Bühler has committed to having solutions ready to multiply by 2025 that reduce energy, waste, and water by 50% in the value chains of its customers. It has also developed a pathway to achieve a 60% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in its operations by 2030, meaning Greenhouse Gas Protocol Scopes 1 & 2, against a 2019 baseline.

Services that drive energy and resource efficiency

Services play a key role not only in reducing costs, increasing food and feed safety, boosting capacity, but also in improving energy and resource efficiency. This is the case with PastaPro solutions, Bühler’s

digital process service that regulates the water in the production of dough. It addresses moisture fluctuations in raw materials and ensures a consistent quality of the product entering the drying process in real time. DryingPro Moisture Control is another example of

36 Professional PASTA SUPPLIER NEWS April / June 2023
Thomas Bischof, Global Head of Business Development Consumer Foods at Bühler Group Marcel Ramseyer, Head of Market Segment Pet Food at Bühler Group Christoph Vogel, Head of Business Unit Human Nutrition at Bühler Group

digital services that has a positive impact as it improves energy efficiency by making correct dryer control adjustments quickly and reliably.

More sustainable production and solutions

Wafers have become more popular among consumers over the last few years as they are a convenient food, ready to eat and easily accessible. This market has been driven by an increasing demand for healthy snacks. At Interpack, Bühler will launch a new wafer baking plate, which brings about a perfect fusion of stable frame and innovative inlet for exceptional even heat distribution. More details will be presented on May 5, 2023. Another highlight is Bühler’s SWAKT-Eco wafer baking oven, a premium solution for the fully automatic industrial production of flat and hollow wafers, designed to reduce gas consumption and emissions. Two electrical tunnel baking ovens - DirectBake E and Turbu E - are sustainable alternatives for the industrial production of biscuits, cookies, crackers, and cakes as they are

developed to achieve highest product quality with reduced carbon emissions during the baking process.

Bühler’s portfolio is extensive and goes beyond the solutions to produce healthy snacks, wafers, and traditional cereal. “Bühler’s Pet Food segment can - together with the expertise of our Consumer Food colleagues - consult, develop,

and supply total solutions for baked pet food,” explains Marcel Ramseyer, Head of Market Segment Pet Food at Bühler Group.

Moving to the cocoa, coffee, and nuts segment, Bühler is presenting its coffee roaster Roastmaster20, which is the first solution to feature Bühler’s new software Playone, a web-based machine control system. With Playone, it is now possible to improve operation with real-time information, increasing monitoring, and adjusting the recipe in a more consistent way.

For the world of confectionery, Bühler will display its ChocoX solution, a chocolate modular moulding line that combines flexibility and agility in production and hygienic design, resulting in significantly lower operational costs. Thanks to integrated control boxes that replace all central switch cabinets, the new ChocoX comes with a reduced footprint. Greater energy efficiency is one of the prime benefits of the new hammer mill Granulex® 5 series as well, with 10% reduction in energy consumption per ton, and in some cases the reduction can be as much as 30%. Launched in 2022, it

37 Professional PASTA SUPPLIER NEWS April / June 2023
SWAKT-Eco wafer baking oven is Bühler’s premium solution for the fully automatic industrial production of flat and hollow wafers, designed to reduce gas consumption and emissions Bühler’s Roastmaster20 with Playone, a new web-based machine control system

combines a groundbreaking modular system that offers flexibility and energy savings while maintaining the highest product quality and safety standards.

Leading the way in plant-based alternatives

Plant-based proteins have been part of the solution when the topic is feeding a global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 in a sustainable way. “We have been active in the field of plant-based alternatives for a long time before the market experienced the boom. We bring this expertise and cutting-edge

technology to support the needs of the customers,” says Christoph Vogel, Head of Business Unit

Human Nutrition at Bühler Group. Bühler offers a complete palette of solutions for the protein value chain from bean to burger. The customer can also test new products, shapes, recipes, textures, flavors, technologies and optimize production process in one of Bühler’s application centers worldwide.

Worldwide presence with Application Centers

Bühler has Application & Training Centers in 23 countries and keeps expanding this network. The Application Centers work as a collaborative platform to inspire and innovate. In June 2022, Bühler announced a strategic partnership with German engineering company endeco to drive forward pulse processing, meet growing demand for alternative sources of protein, and develop pulse processing solutions with a significantly lower CO2 footprint. The companies are building together the new Protein Application Center at Bühler’s headquarters in Uzwil to offer customers end-to-end solutions, from bean to burger, including all wet and dry processing.

The opening is planned for the last quarter of 2023.

The new Cocoa Application Center, based in Bühler’s headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland, will also open its doors to customers later this year. “With our brand-new flavor creation center for cocoa, nuts, and coffee, we showcase an integrated factory from raw cocoa beans to molded products, our proven nut expertise, which spans the entire range of nuts processing, or our ultimate coffee passion in roasting and grinding,” explains Manuel Hoehener, Head of R&D Chocolate & Coffee at Bühler Group.

To support the customers throughout the entire production process, Bühler is also building a new Food Creation Center in Uzwil. The center combines the best of Bühler’s solutions (in bakery, wafers, bars, biscuits) and showcases the future of food in an integrated way. The Center will open its doors in the third quarter of 2023.

All Application & Training Centers in Uzwil produce about 550 tons of biomass annually. To recover the energy from this biomass, Bühler is partnering with Vyncke, a company that specializes in converting biomass into clean energy, to build a test center for energy recovery in Uzwil. The plant is scheduled to be operational at the end of the year. MISTA, an innovation platform for the food industry based in San Franciso, US, is also part of Bühler’s innovation ecosystem. With its extrusion solution and expertise, Bühler can support customers in the region in their innovation journeys. In Brazil, the Tropical Innovation Lab should open its doors later this year. Developed by Bühler, Givaudan, and Cargill in collaboration with the Food Tech Hub Latam and the Institute of Food Technology (ITAL), the lab will provide start-ups, companies, universities, and research institutions with direct access to high-end technologies and a network of experts.

38 Professional PASTA April / June 2023 SUPPLIER NEWS
ChocoX marks a breakthrough in the industry with its entirely modular approach The new Cocoa Application Center, based in Uzwil, Switzerland, will open its doors to customers later this year

AXOR: wide range of solutions for dry pasta production

AXOR is a leading company specialized in design, manufacturing, and installation of automatic and continuous lines for dry pasta production. With more than 170 installed references worldwide and 30 years of experience, AXOR is one of the key players in this business area. In our business, we offer plants which have a production capacity range from 500 up to 6.000 kg/h. Our company is 100% Made In Italy and provides customers with a tailor-made offer aligned to their needs.

AXOR can boast a variety of lines for the industrial production of dry pasta in all its applications. In detail, AXOR has the following capacity range of equipment:

• Short-Cut Pasta Lines: 700 to 6.000 kg/h,

• Monotier Long-Cut Pasta Lines: 1.000 to 1.500 kg/h,

• Multi-Tier Long-Cut Pasta Lines: 2.000 to 4.000 kg/h

• Special Shaped Pasta Lines: 500, 800, 1200 kg/h,

• Couscous Lines: 500, 700, 1.200, 1.800 kg/h,

• Instant Pasta Lines: 500 to 1.500 kg/h,

• Gluten-free Pasta Lines: 700 to 1.500 kg/h,

• Snack Pellet Production Lines: 200 to 1.200 kg/h.

From Turn Key Projects To Assistance

In an industrial pasta factory, the production line represents the technological heart of the factory, but there are other production departments without which the factory can’t run.

In fact, among the strong points,

AXOR offers itself as the ‘’Main Contractor’’ for the supply with EPC formula (Engineering, Procurement, and Construction) of all equipment and services necessary for the construction of the complete factory, meaning that AXOR is able to design, build and install complete facilities, by coordinating the various subsuppliers, with the turn-key project formula. Requesting of turn-key projects is very frequent from customers who require a single interlocutor capable of supplying 100% of the necessary equipment and being able to manage the global development of the project, from design to its start-up. We will continue to manufacture pasta production technologies all over the world and the successful projects we do today will remain over time.

40 Professional PASTA April / June 2023 SUPPLIER NEWS

Fontana Macaroni

If you were looking for some fun in San Francisco during World War II, the thing to do was to go dancing at the Fontana macaroni factory.1 Indeed, it was a lively time in the Golden City, a place packed with the military gearing up for deployment to the Pacific. At the end of a busy day, the pasta factory turned into a dance hall where you could boogie down amid boxes of freshly minted golden macaroni. For a perfect recipe, just add some dancing sailors to spice up the mix and a few Marines to turn up the heat. The dances at the macaroni factory offered a good break from an otherwise challenging period. The Fontana macaroni factory was built to look pristine, exuding an aura of cleanliness to all who saw it. It was a 100 x 300-foot (30 x 91meter) four story building in South San Francisco, covered in massive windows to maximize natural lighting, thus acquiring the moniker of the “Sunshine Plant.”2-3 The factory was state of the art, with hydraulic power and its own water purification system.4

Fontana made about 28 varieties of pasta and noodles, including elbows, macaroni, rings, shells, spaghetti, stars, vermicelli and alphabets, which they recommended to be served for breakfast with cream and sugar.5 In addition to retail packages, Fontana offered pasta in 20-pound bulk boxes, large wooden barrels and cans, in an offering they called a “5-Pound Handy Can.”6-7 In the early 1930s, Fontana sponsored cooking schools in Hawaii to promote the health benefits of pasta and advertise their products in that region.8 Whether out of a sense of patriotism during World War II or just plain unconventional marketing, opening the doors of the factory to the public was certainly a unique way to promote their product. Fontana Food Products Company was formed by Mark E. Fontana as President, Lucian Podesta as Vice President, and A. E. Sbarboro as Treasurer.9

Mark Fontana was the eldest son of Marco Fontana, who immigrated to the United States from Genoa, Italy and founded the successful canning enterprise M. J. Fontana and Company.10 Podesta previously owned and managed the Pioneer Macaroni and Vermicelli Factory, which claimed to be the oldest and largest macaroni company on the Pacific Coast.11 Sbarboro worked at the Italian-American Bank of San Francisco.12

Construction of the factory commenced in the Fall of 1921 and operations began sometime in late 1922.13-14 The company grew steadily over the years, becoming the number one brand on the Pacific Coast and securing 75% of the Hawaiian dry pasta market.15 In 1946, it became a division of Hunt Foods of Los Angeles after becoming a subsidiary of Hunt a year earlier.16 In July 1948, a “spectacular” fire started on the fourth-floor drying section and

42 Professional PASTA April / June 2023 HISTORICAL NEWS
VJ Day Market Street August 15, 1945, courtesy of Back page of Fontana Food Products Company booklet (digitized by Leonard J. DeFrancisci)

spread throughout the building causing $500,000 in damage, the same amount it cost to initially set up the factory.17-18 At the time, the factory was making 1,500,000 pounds (680,000 kilograms) monthly and had about 70 employees.19-20 The company never fully recovered from the fire and ceased operations in 1951.21


1. Michelle Robertson, “A 92-year-old SF native reflects on how the city has changed – and hasn’t“, SFGATE (November 23, 2018, updated December 12, 2018),

2. “Work Starts on Great Macaroni Factory”, The Enterprise, Enterprise Publishing Company, South San Francisco, California, volume XXVIII, number 42 (October 21, 1921), page 1.

3. ”Fontana Products ‘Sunshine Plant’: Payroll $75,000”, The Enterprise, volume XXXVI, number 50 (December 14, 1928), Industrial Section, page 13.

4. ”Making Macaroni”, American Miller, Mitchell Brothers Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, volume LIII, number 10 (October 10, 1925), pages 1096-97.

5. “Eat and Serve Fontana’s Macaroni Products Often”, The Honolulu Advertiser, Honolulu, Hawaii, 75th year, number 15,999 (August 27, 1931), page 17.

6. Ibid.

7. Food and Medical Authorities on Food Value of Macaroni Products, published by Fontana Foods Products Company, San Francisco, California (undated company information and recipe booklet).

8. “Fontana Macaroni Products Made From Finest Grade Durum Wheat”, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Honolulu, Hawaii, (Evening Bulletin, established 1882, number 12234), (Hawaiian Star, volume XXXIX, number 12375) (October 7, 1931), Cooking School Section, page 2.

9. ”Work Starts on Great Macaroni Factory”.

10. Ibid.

11. ”Food Products Manufacturing Co. to Build Great Modern Plant in So. S. F.”, The Enterprise, volume XXVIII, number 37 (September 16, 1921), page 1.

12. Ibid.

13. “Work Starts on Great Macaroni Factory”.

14. ”Fontana Forms New Firm in San Francisco”, The Enterprise, volume XXIX, number 13 (March 30, 1922), page 1.

15. “In the Matter of Golden Grain Macaroni Company, Et Al.”, Federal Trade Commission Decisions, Findings, Opinions, and Orders, January 1 to June 30, 1971, volume 78, published by the commission, compiled by the Rules and Publications Section of the Office of the Secretary, United States Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (1973), pages 72 and 119.

16. “Hunt Foods Takes Over Fontana”, San Mateo Times, San Mateo, California, volume 45, number 201 (August 28, 1946), page 7.

17. “Works Starts on Great Macaroni Factory”.

18. ”Four-Story Macaroni Plant Burned in SF”, Salinas Californian, Salinas, California, volume LXXVII, number 171 (July 19, 1948), page 4.

19. ”Hunt Foods Takes Over Fontana”.

20. ”Fontana Macaroni Factory In S. F. Burns”, The Fresno Bee, Fresno, California, volume 52, number 9329 (July 19, 1948), page 2.

21. ”In the Matter of Golden Grain Macaroni Company, Et Al.”, page 72.

Leonard J. DeFrancisci National Pasta Association History Committee Pasta Institute of Technology Fontana factory from “Making Macaroni,” American Miller

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