Since 1998, countries around the globe have celebrated World Pasta Day, a holiday that unites pasta lovers in their passion for pasta.
Again this year on October 25th, pasta fans around the world are joining famous chefs, restaurants, families and friends to enjoy their favourite pasta meals.
Dubai is the breathtaking venue of a special 20th anniversary international gathering that included pasta makers, industry members, scientists, media and other opinion leaders,
organized by the International Pasta Organization (IPO), Italian Association of Confectionary and Pasta Industries (AIDEPI), and Italian Trade Agency (ITA),
focused on the healthful and great-tasting aspects of pasta, as well as its growing and enduring popularity around the world.

Moderated by Tom Urquhart, Radio and TV presenter, World Pasta Day featured information and thought sharing from renowned pasta makers, industry members, scientists,
media and other opinion leaders, as well as in-depth research analysis related to the healthful and nutritional aspects of pasta and its place as part of the gold-standard Mediterranean Diet.

Experts discussed the pasta market trends, its high nutritional value, its accessibility and adaptability to all populations
and world cultures and, of course, its incredible taste and versatility, during three panel discussions:

PASTA IS A GLOBAL FOOD
PASTA IS GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH
PASTA IS TASTY AND BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER

The event highlighted experts presenting insights and research related to this popular global food. Here is what they have to say:

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Paolo Barilla
President of the International Pasta Organization (IPO)

“Pasta is an extraordinary product that brings joy and conviviality to the table of millions of people all over the world every day. We, pasta producers, like to see how chefs continue to reinterpret it, how culinary experts describe it, and how nutritionists recommend it for a healthy, balanced diet.”

Panel #1
Pasta is a Global Food

The update on pasta market trends and additional insights on consumers perception was presented by Stefano Galli and Manzar Alam Khan (Nielsen) and Paolo Anselmi (GfK Italy).
They provided a global perspective, with a focus on emerging markets and the Gulf region and the UAE, where pasta sales are growing year by year.

Paolo Anselmi
Vice President, GfK Italia

“No other food like pasta is so rich in consumers’ perception, first of all, for the variety of its shapes and the multiplicity of possible pairings. A dish of pasta can effectively interpret the different values that inspire modern eating styles: respect of tradition and search for innovation, appreciation of lightness and healthiness and pleasure of intense tastes. Pasta has a sensorial, cultural and emotional richness that makes it quite unique among global foods.”

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Stefano Galli
Global Client Group Leader, Nielsen

“Global Pasta value sales are currently slightly growing: +0,6. The pasta category needs to follow the value pathway to avoid the risk of becoming a commodity for the global consumer, since price tends to be more and more the main element of choice: high promotion level, discount growth, cheaper offer are pushing in that direction. The pasta industry has a great opportunity to ride the Premiumization wave. Consumers are willing to pay a premium price for products that leverage specific features: Health and Sustainability, Made in, Selected Origins, Craftsmanship and Innovation. No doubt all these elements are already in pasta’s DNA.”

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Manzar Alam Khan
Retail Measurement Services,
Saudi Arabia Head, Nielsen

“The Gulf markets are in transition due to various economic factors and political events, resulting to a changing business landscape. However, on a positive side, this year the market has started to show the signs of recovery and the pasta category is performing much better than the overall food basket, mainly driven by penetration and marketing/promotional activities. New entrances and smaller manufacturers are driving it and gaining market share on the back of better execution strategy.”

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Panel #2
Pasta is Good For Your Health

Pasta continues to be one of the world’s favorite foods. Its increasing popularity in cultures around the globe can be attributed not only to its delicious versatility but also to its contributions as a nutritious complex carbohydrate that, when combined with vegetables and legumes and other healthy pairings, is one of the easiest and healthiest of mealtime choices. Ongoing studies on the health benefits of pasta in conjunction with many international universities continue to assess the impact of pasta consumption on weight, glycemic response and risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

University of Toronto Scientists John Sievenpiper, MD, PhD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, and Cyril Kendall, PhD, Senior Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, presented the findings of their new study, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ).

As Dr. John Sievenpiper and Dr. Cyril Kendall, explained, a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that pasta as part of low-GI dietary patterns does not have an adverse effect on adiposity, reducing body weight and BMI compared with higher-GI dietary patterns even without the intention of weight loss. Current evidence suggests that pasta may be highlighted as a low-GI food that when consumed as part of a healthy low-GI dietary pattern, such as plant-based Mediterranean diet, can help people to achieve their cardiometabolic health goals.

John L. Sievenpiper
MD, PhD, FRCPC, Associate Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences,
University of Toronto (Canada)

“Carbohydrates are increasingly coming under attack for playing a role in the epidemics of obesity and the chronic diseases that result from obesity. Not all carbohydrates, however, behave the same way. There is an increasing recognition that carbohydrate quality is more important than carbohydrate quantity in the prevention and management of obesity and major chronic diseases. This is reflected in the shift in international public health policy and clinical practice guidelines away from a focus on single nutrients to a focus on foods and dietary patterns. Our study found that pasta, a low glycemic index carbohydrate food, does not contribute to increases in body weight or body fat and even contributes to modest weight loss when consumed as part of a healthy low-glycemic index diet.”

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Cyril Kendall
PhD, Senior Research Associate, Department of Nutritional Sciences,
Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto (Canada)

“Pasta is a healthy carbohydrate food and a key component of many of the world’s traditional healthy eating patterns, such as the scientifically-proven Mediterranean Diet.  Recently completed systematic reviews and meta analyses of clinical studies indicate that high carbohydrate diets that are low in glycemic index (GI), high in fibre, or emphasize healthy carbohydrate foods (whole grains, pulses, fruit) decrease cardiometabolic risk factors and are associated with decreased weight gain, diabetes and cardiovascular disease incidence in epidemiological studies.”

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Scientific Consensus Statement on the Healthy Pasta Meal

In October 2015, 20 scientists from nine countries gathered to update the Scientific Consensus Statement on the Healthy Pasta Meal. Organized by the non-profit Oldways, the International Pasta Organisation (IPO) and AIDEPI, the scientific conference in Milan produced a collaborative statement that reinforced the many healthy aspects of pasta and addressed topics including gluten-free fads, sports nutrition and sustainability.
Since then, top Russian, Turkish and Brazilian scientists have added their names at subsequent World Pasta Day events in Moscow (2016) and São Paulo (2017).
This year’s global event in Dubai brought together two more scientists to present their latest research on the Mediterranean Diet, carbohydrates, and pasta, who also agreed to add their signatures to the Scientific Consensus Statement on the Healthy Pasta Meal.
On behalf of the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of IPO, Sara Baer-Sinnott, Francesca Ronca, from the IPO, summarized the Scientific Consensus Statement on Healthy Pasta Meals


Francesca Ronca
International Pasta Organization (IPO)

“Pasta is a healthy and delicious part of traditional diets around the world, respecting and celebrating all cuisines. IPO will continue its campaign to debunk myths about pasta and reaffirm The Truth About Pasta by informing, educating and encouraging eating pasta as part of a healthy lifestyle. Join us to amplify these messages”

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Panel #3:
Pasta is Tasty and Brings People Together

Pasta continues to be one of the world’s favorite foods. Its increasing popularity in cultures around the globe can also be attributed also to its delicious versatility and inclusiveness.

Pasta goes well with almost anything and appeals to almost everyone, across cultures, ages and dietary boundaries like almost no other single food. This sense of inclusiveness inspired a culinary experience offered to media and delegates by the Syrian Chef Mohammad Orfali, the Italian Chef Luca Marchini and the Argentinian Chef Victoria Andrade, together with the students and trainer chefs of the esteemed International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai. They showed how pasta can meld with Arab culinary traditions as well as in any other and be interpreted like a canvas by celebrity chefs as well as by ordinary people.

After the tasteful culinary experience hosted by Sunjeh Raja, Director & CEO, International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai and the cake cutting to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of World Pasta Day, the Chefs joined food journalist Eleonora Cozzella, Chef Bruno Serato and Giovanni Maria Rossi, from the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, for a conversation about pasta telling stories about pasta, a food that has the power to bring friends and family together to celebrate both the ordinary and the extraordinary moments in life, as the incredible story of Chef Bruno Serato testifies. World Pasta Day closed with the announcement of “The Power Of Pasta” global charity initiative by chef Bruno Serato is an ambassador for the “The Power of Pasta” initiative promoted by IPO and pasta makers from all over the world who committed themselves donating about 2 million pasta plates to various organizations involved in the fight against hunger around the world.

Sunjeh Raja
Director & CEO, International Centre for Culinary Arts (ICCA) Dubai

“Every country seems to have its own take on pasta. As the host venue for the 20th World Pasta Day, ICCA Dubai will attempt to showcase the exceptional inclusiveness of pasta as a world cuisine by displaying a selection of popular dishes from around the world with pasta as the core ingredient.”

Victoria Andrade
Chef Instructor, ICCA Dubai

“As a career chef instructor and a serious health enthusiast, it is very important for me to maintain a balance that comes with good exercise and proper eating. And pasta, when prepared in a healthy way forms an important part of my balanced diet.”

Giovanni M. Rossi
Chair of the Dubai Delegation, Accademia Italiana della Cucina

“Pasta for me is the epitome of family gathering. And the discussions about the food were made with passion. Whether it is art, politics or sport, in Italy the most important thing is to have passion for what you are doing. It’s this passion and pride that also make the food so delicious, popular and natural. And pasta has no class boundaries. Passionate pasta lovers can always gather around a “piatto di pasta” and discuss about how a particular dish should be cooked, or what sauce is acceptable with which pasta shape, or which wine suits your special recipe. Pasta is important for Italians. It goes way beyond just simple nourishment. It is a serious business.”

Bruno Serato
Chef and owner of the acclaimed Anaheim White House restaurant (California), and founder of Caterina’s Club, serving thousands of nutritious meals to underprivileged children every single night

“Everyone loves pasta. It’s an amazing food with great nutrition for everyone and can be mixed with every other food available on this planet — making it the best of the best, and very affordable for everyone. Pasta also does not damage the planet. There is nothing better than sharing a plate of pasta around a table. It makes everyone smile and inspires great conversation. I even wrote to Pope Francis suggesting every religious leader get together to eat pasta and make peace around the world.”

Luca Marchini
Innovative chef and owner of renowned L’Erba del Re in Modena, Italy

“We give deep importance to the quality of the ingredients and the cooking technique of every type of pasta: tasting a mouthful offers an experience not only linked to taste, but also to the touch that experiences a satisfying consistency for the palate. In addition, pasta is a fundamental food from a nutritional perspective, as carbohydrate foods provide an energy input necessary to meet daily requirements. Pasta is extremely versatile. The combinations are endless: meat fish, vegetables. Pasta is really a special food.”

Mohammad Orfali
a Syrian Chef and Head of Culinary at the Discovery network’s FATAFEAT TV

“Pasta is a word that united the cuisines around the world. In my opinion ‘The Pasta’ is a common meal in most of the ancient cuisines, such as pasta for Italians, noodles for Asians, Macarona for Arabs. No matter where it is coming from, all you need is some flour, salt, water and eggs to make a pasta dish that belongs to you. Pasta is a meal that brings the rich and poor, adults and kids on the same table.”

Eleonora Cozzella
taster/inspector for the Guida ai Ristoranti d’Italia of L’Espresso, and author, “Pasta Revolution.”

“Pasta is the most universal of foods. Pasta can be stored for a long time, it can be transported far away, it is inexpensive and sustainable for its production methods. It goes well with fine ingredients but can be served in very basic lunches. It is perfect for every lifestyle (carnivores, vegetarians and vegans can enjoy it) and has no religious preclusions. Dry or in broth, as a main ingredient of the dish or as a side dish of other recipes. I studied the story of pasta from its origins up to the development, admiring the fact that it is the most important example of food design. The shapes inspire every day (not professional) cooks but also the great chefs in the art of inventing new tastes. This is why I believe in the power of the Pasta Revolution.”

World Pasta Day Gala Dinner

World Pasta Day Gala Dinner was hosted at the Armani Pavilion, the dramatic outdoor terrace of the Armani Dubai Hotel,
positioned next to the famous Dubai Fountain at the foot of the iconic Burj Khalifa.
The dinner was preceded by a cocktail reception during which Simone Ficarelli of the Consorzio Parmigiano Reggiano
demonstrated the fascinating opening of a Parmigiano Reggiano wheel using the traditional technique. Guests were then invited by Simona Caselli, Regional Minister for Agriculture, Hunting and Fishing at Regione Emilia-Romagna, to attend a classic concert “Opera & Cinema” featuring:
ANDREA GRIMINELLI – Flute
CLAUDIA SASSO – Soprano
JENISHBEK YSMANOV – Tenor
AMEDEO SALVATO – Piano.
 
For the 20th Anniversary of the WORLD PASTA DAY Celebration in Dubai Chefs Mohammad Orfali and Francesco Conzattu created a unique signature pasta recipe, Pasta with Baba Gannouj, were pasta meets Arabic Cusine.

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