The English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin mentioned in his The Origin of Species, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” I believe this principle can be also applied to the marketing strategy of any companies in the world. In order to survive, grow and mature, even become a leading company in its industry, a company need to know when and how to adjust its products and marketing strategy accordingly.
When it comes to pasta, people would all agree that it is Italian’s symbolic way of life. Undoubtedly, pasta used to dominate Italian diet. Until today, there are at least 500 pasta shapes in Italy. However, in the past decade, Italians have been losing their devotion towards pasta day by day. Ten years ago, Italian family ate an average of 40 kilograms (88 pounds) per year. While according to the most recent survey, this number dropped to 31 kilograms (70.6 pounds) per year. The dramatic decline of 25% in demand makes many pasta makers struggling with surviving in this industry. Seemingly, there is even no exception for giant pasta makers. Barilla S.p.A, the world’s largest pasta maker, whose Italian pasta sales fell 3% last year – this year’s number is not very optimistic either.
There are many reasons why the market demand for pasta is decreasing gradually. A recent research shows that the share of women between 26 and 30 years old who believe pasta is fattening increased 26% from 2008 to 2012, while among 26 to 30 years old men, the number increased 16% during the same time period. Obviously, more and more people focus on nutrition as all as calorie of food. Therefore, many restaurants started to add more fish and vegetables options to their menus. Also, foreign cuisine has become another powerful threat to traditional Italian cuisine. For instance, Shushi bars have exploded in Italy and grown quickly with the concept of making people healthier.
In order to survive in this fierce competition, pasta makers are attempting to respond through different marketing strategies. For example, Barilla has sought to beat back the idea that pasta is fattening through TV ads as well as other media press. Additional, the company has signed an agreement with McDonald’s to add new pasta dishes to its menu with the purpose of recapturing young consumers. How to explore new potential markets as well as adjust the way of marketing its pasta will be vital decisions for pasta companies to make. It will be a tough battle for pasta makers though they have a long way to go.