Durum, pasta industry copes with volatile demand


PORTLAND, Ore. — Pasta and other “shelf-stable” stables like pulse crops are “flying off the grocery shelves” in the era of COVID-19 social distancing, but it’s important for consumers to understand that the food chain is stable, says an executive for Columbia Grain International.

Kurt Haarmann, senior vice president of Columbia Grain International, based in Portland, said the food industry — producers, to handlers, to processors — are on the job and ready for increasing demand. The company is important to Montana and North Dakota producers, and to food companies throughout the world.

Food Manufacturing, food industry news source, based in Madison, Wis., said that 88% of people have been cooking more meals at home since COVID-19 restrictions have gone into effect. The newsletter’s May 18 issue features a survey of 630 consumers by Influence Central, a company that “delivers social media and digital campaigns.”

Among the COVID-19 trends: 72% had lessened frequency of grocery shopping trips; 70% snack and eat more frequently; 42% eat more fruit and vegetables; 30% eat more meat, poultry and fish; 49% eat more meals from scratch.

“Organics, while always an upscale option especially in vegetables, fruits and milk products, have become a skippable luxury for those facing tight budgets,” the Influence Central survey said. “Baking soda, flour and sugar haven’t had a moment like this since the turn of the new millennium,” the article said.

“We’ve seen consumers want to store up and fill the pantry with products they know they can rely on, and go to at any time for meals,” Haarmann said. […]

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