Italian pasta-maker Barilla has released a range of microwaveable pasta pouches to make pasta even more convenient, according to FoodBev Media.
Available in rotini, gemelli, penne or elbows, the pouches contain 8.5 ounces — or two servings — of al dente pasta made with extra-virgin olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. To prepare, consumers knead the package and microwave for 60 seconds before mixing with other ingredients.
The Barilla Ready Pasta is intended for occasions when convenience is paramount, such as lunch at work, an after-school snack or a quick at-home dinner, the company said.
Convenience is a major driver of food purchases, with nearly half of household food shopping budgets spent on convenience foods, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. More than one-quarter of food dollars (26%) were spent on ready-to-cook and ready-to-eat meals and snacks from 1999 to 2010.
In this context, the pasta pouches may find a market with those who find it hard to plan ahead, particularly for their next workday meal. While ordinary pasta is undoubtedly one of the most convenient at-home meals, it still requires some preparation and equipment that may not be convenient at work. The package also eliminates any clean-up — although the need to add other ingredients, such as a pasta sauce, vegetables or meat, may negate it.
Like meal kits, however, the pouch concept may leave just enough to the consumer to make them feel that they are actually preparing something reasonably fresh and healthy.
Meanwhile, there has been growing resistance to the trend of ultra-convenience, as more consumers enjoy cooking from scratch and the "slow food" movement has grown. For others, however, food is fuel to be prepared, consumed and cleaned up as quickly as possible to allow them to get on with more important aspects of their lives.