Barilla introduces gluten-free pasta

Becky Oberg's picture

Allergic to gluten but love pasta? Pasta giant Barilla is introducing a gluten-free line of pastas.

“Barilla has a rich heritage of delivering quality, trusted products, and we are committed to making sure everyone can enjoy delicious pasta,” Claudio Colzani, Chief Executive Officer of the Barilla Group, said in a press release. “We felt it was important to invest in developing a pasta line for the ever-increasing number of people who are adopting gluten-free lifestyles, ensuring that it delivers the taste and texture pasta lovers expect from Barilla.”

According to the press release, Barilla Gluten Free Pasta is produced in a dedicated gluten-free facility in Italy. It is made with a combination of non-GMO corn and rice. There are four varieties in the Gluten Free Pasta line – Spaghetti, Penne, Rotini and Elbows. It will be sold in 12-ounce boxes for $2.39. All four varieties will become available in select retail stores beginning in September 2013, and nationally in early2014.

"Gluten Free is a strategic addition to the Barilla pasta portfolio and to the pasta category overall," the company said in the press release. "Many consumers who are making the choice to purchase gluten-free products avoid pasta due to negative taste perceptions, high prices and limited availability. Barilla anticipates the new Gluten Free line will bring these consumers back to the pasta they love and trust."

Most pasta is made from durum flour, and durum flour contains gluten, according to the Mayo Clinic. In fact, the Mayo Clinic recommends people with celiac disease avoid pasta unless it is labeled "gluten-free". Even then there is the risk of cross-contamination, and the "may contain" labeling that warns of cross-contamination is voluntary.

According to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness
, an estimated 1 in 33 Americans has celiac disease. That's about 1 percent of the population. Symptoms of celiac disease, which is an autoimmune disorder affecting the absorption of nutrients from foods, include bloating, gas, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and poor weight gain.

The only treatment for celiac disease is a gluten-free diet, as gluten causes the small intestines to become inflamed in people with celiac disease.

Gluten-free sales reached more than $2.6 billion by the end of 2010 and are now expected to exceed more than $5 billion by 2015, according to the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness.

Image Source: Barilla Group