The novel COVID-19 pandemic has hampered food supplies in stores around the globe and is also causing labor dearth in agriculture worldwide.
With Americans stockpiling shelf-stable, economical foods, pasta has become a linchpin of the confinement pantry—when consumers can find any. Due to an immense climb in demand, pasta corporations have been reporting nearly 30 percent hikes in the volume they have to generate to keep grocery stores sourced.
Carl Zuanelli, CEO of Nuovo Pasta and chairman of the National Pasta Association said: “Dry pasta [production] had been flat for the past number of years, and it has significantly increased since the pandemic began. We really started to see panic buying toward the end of February, beginning of March.” James Meyer, CEO of the flour producer Italgrani, chimed in: “Demand is up. We’ve been grinding more and shipping that to our customers. Transit times for both the raw materials coming to us and for the finished product going to our customers have been very good.”
Linda Schalles, director of special operations for the Philadelphia Macaroni Company, spoke on the pasta shortage as well. “We generally run at 80 percent of capacity [at the factory]. We’re now at 105 percent of capacity. We’re working 24/7.” Schalles added: “We’ve had to put some of those customers [for specialty pastas] off because we have to fill the demand for the broadest products that are in the middle of the aisle. We fill up those shelves.”
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