BMI Food Bites: Pasta on slow but steady growth curve

SA’s pasta market has seen a slow but steady growth in the last two years, picking up from the volume decline within 2008, reports BMI Research. Sector background

The BMI categorisation of the South African pasta market comprises dry pasta and pasta meal kits. The latter is marketed with a sauce or flavourant added, where this is usually an additional sachet included in the pasta pack. Instant noodles are incorporated with pasta-meal kits. Fresh pasta is excluded from the study.

The change of people’s perception of what is a healthy diet and the quest for a healthier lifestyle has ensured that pasta has become a “good for you” food. It is considered a good option for carbo-loading for sports people and low GI for the health conscious.

In addition, pasta has proved to be a popular meal in any of its many consumption platforms – restaurants, canteens, caterers, takeaways, ready made, home cooked or the many pasta meal kits available. The appeal is that it is easy to store, economically friendly, versatile and convenient to prepare.

South Africa is no exception and pasta has been welcomed particularly by the upper end of the market. Many gourmet pastas are available through specialised shops and up market retail outlets.

Should pasta extend it’s reach into the middle portion of the market, dry pasta may be poised for steady growth in the long term.

Market moves

  • While dry pasta holds the greatest portion of the total pasta market on a volume basis, pasta meal kits have gained ground within the value sector of this market to claim 20.8% of the total value.
  • Pasta meal kits hold minimal consumption within foodservices, this understandable considering their application as convenient, small volume home meals, or noodles for lunches and snacks.
  • The majority of pasta, whether it is dry pasta types or pasta meal kits, are purchased in the retail market, indicating the consumers include the category with their usual household purchases.
  • The pasta market has seen a slow but steady growth in the last two years, picking up from the volume decline within 2008. The 2008 year saw a substantial decline in the level of pasta imports as the South African Rand depreciated on international markets. While local producers have since attempted to recover the gap created by the lack of imports, rising input costs has resulted in intensified competition between players and lower margins overall. This has put downward pressure on category growth rates. 
  • The outlook for pasta volumes remain conservative in the short term with only limited growth anticipated for 2011 and 2012.

Download the Annual Market Quantification from BMI for this category, here

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