Are you more truffle macaroni gratin or buttered pasta? Whatever the recipe, all French people have at least one packet of pasta at home. But even today, when they have to make their choice in supermarkets, they can't help but notice: the assortment of ranges is far from complete. Three years after the outbreak of the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the pasta department remains under tension.
“We still have supply issues. We can talk about pearl breaks on the shelf,” says Albert Mathieu, General Manager of Panzani. He cites a 10% increase in sales in December 2022 to explain the perceived disorder in stores during the month of January.
It is true that the French changed their consumption habits at the time of the first confinement. Homes overstocked to cope with this unprecedented crisis, and spaghetti and farfalle were prominently in the panic carts.
As a result, the softly purring pasta market suddenly woke up. “Sales in the French market increased from 400,000 to 450,000 tons between 2019 and 2020. In 2022, they remained at a higher level than before Covid at 419,000 tons,” explains Mr. Mathieu. And purchases are not regular, which complicates the task of manufacturers.
Is the December 2022 spike explained by a movement of consumers eager to tighten their belts in times of inflation? Pasta remains, in fact, a product accessible to the greatest number even if its price has also increased. “Before the crisis, the 500 g package of Panzani pasta cost 75 cents, today it is more than 1 euro”, specifies Mr. Mathieu.
He believes that the movement will continue: "To meet the increase in our costs, we would need a further increase of 15%. » Negotiations are ongoing with distributors. Panzani's electricity bill has more than doubled. But to reduce that of its customers, the manufacturer recommends its fine pasta cooked in three minutes…