Canadians embrace food – we value family traditions, recipes passed down through generations, global trends and show a lot of heart for our local producers. For almost 150 years, Catelli pasta has grown up with Canadian families through a shared passion for food – not to mention a shared birthday, a proud heritage and strong ideals. And like our country, Canadian families have evolved. Blended, single-parent and multi-ethnic families are part of our modern mosaic and match our evolving tastes and preferences – from locally sourced yet globally influenced, to simple, healthy and trusted ingredients. But what has stayed the same is our love of pasta. That's why leading up to this special anniversary year, Catelli along with three celebrated Canadian chefs – Cory Vitiello, Martin Juneau and Michael Allemeier – are taking a journey with Canadians to explore this universal food and its relationship with families across Canada today.
And there's no doubt we love our pasta. Case in point, almost 9 in 10 households have it in their cupboard. What's more, it's a 'real' food in an industry striving to meet the demands of today's health-minded Canadian families. So what do Canadians love about it?
Quite simply, pasta makes us feel good. In fact, three-quarters of Canadians said they feel relaxed cooking pasta because it's easy meal making or like that it offers so many options, most strongly felt by Ontarians at 82 per cent.* Other feelings cooking pasta evokes? Nearly a third of Canadians say experimenting with new pasta recipes makes them feel excited and half of Canadian parents in particular, feel confident they can create a good meal when cooking pasta.*
"It's not surprising that cooking pasta makes us feel good, and we get excited to experiment with it," says Montreal chef and Dad to two, Martin Juneau. "Families today really value the 3 E's of a pasta meal – easy, efficient and enjoyable. It's why I'm excited to start talking with Canadians about its place in their homes. Food has never been a more talked about subject and pasta offers us a range of meal options and nutritional benefits – not to mention that its simplicity gives us back the gift of quality family time, one of the biggest challenges we struggle with today."
In fact, when it comes to the role pasta plays in Canadians' lives, the majority say it means less kitchen time because of its easy prep or that it provides a lot of options for their family.* Health is important too. Almost half say pasta is a healthy meal option due to its simple ingredients and the fact that it can be further paired with 'good for me' ingredients.* And with healthier pasta options such as Catelli Smart®, with its very high source of fibre, Catelli® Gluten Free and 100% whole grain Catelli® Healthy Harvest®, serving this quality, delicious meal to the family is adding to the good feeling too. Six in 10 parents with kids in the household shared that pasta makes their kids happy or their family feel fueled.*
"There isn't a typical Canadian family anymore – and few of us would say our lifestyles are typical," says Doyle Brown, Senior Brand Manager, Catelli. "Just like Canadian families, pasta has become such a versatile food with so many ways to experience it – we're moving away from the traditional view of it as just an Italian meal. Canadians also have a lot to do with the many ways we enjoy pasta today – whether it's a fresh spin on an old favorite or something completely new and inventive."
Look no further than our quest for recipes. In 2015, Spaghetti Bolognese was the 7th most searched recipe by Canadians according to Google Trends, with lasagna in close pursuit in 9th. And breakout recipe searches have recently included everything from 'one pot pasta' and 'pasta bake' to 'pesto pasta' and 'basil pasta'.** Additionally, our love of local means we're cooking more with real, simple ingredients grown or raised close to home and available in local grocers or farmer's markets.
"The popularity in using fewer and fresher, local ingredients is helping build pasta's quality reputation," says Toronto Chef Cory Vitiello. "Canadians are learning they don't have to be trained chefs to get creative with their pasta dishes, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they've been up to in their kitchens!"
Yet, Canadians don't shy away from practicality either. The top two reasons Canadians add pasta to their shopping lists include: how easy it is to make a pasta meal (59%) and how affordable pasta is (48%).* Whether a bustling family household or a single individual, pasta remains one of the most reasonable meals on the market. And, the taste factor is never far behind – 4 out of 10 say they just can't live without it!*
"Pasta has a special place in Canadian households – and what makes it special is different for every family," says Chef Michael Allemeier. "It's a comfort food, an easy meal time win, a quick dinner fix and a crowd-pleasing entertaining option – and the recipe options are really endless. Look how butternut squash provides a delicious twist to meat lasagna or how fresh goat cheese and pesto puts a new spin on spaghetti."
The Catelli Pasta Journey
The Catelli team is hitting the road in 2016 to learn more about how today's Canadian families are enjoying pasta and inviting them to share their stories, their recipes and even their pictures at #CatelliFamilies. This spring, a video series documenting some of these stories will be introduced and a new collection of recipes inspired by our modern taste preferences – and featuring favourites from chefs Cory Vitiello, Martin Juneau and Michael Allemeier, will be available at www.catelli.ca. The majority of Catelli pastas – including 100% whole grain Catelli® Healthy Harvest® and fibre rich Catelli Smart® – are not produced with ingredients that have been genetically modified.
About Catelli Foods Corporation
Catelli is a Canadian pasta company founded in Montréal, QC in 1867. It holds the ranking of #1 Canadian pasta brand and is the leader in the health and wellness pasta segment. With more than 75 products available in its line-up today, including Catelli Smart®, Catelli® GlutenFree and Catelli® Healthy Harvest®, Catelli offers pasta made from simple, wholesome ingredients for every kind of family taste and preference.
About the Research Study:
A study of 300 Canadians was completed online between December 3 – December 8, 2015 by Environics Research.
*Environics Research Study (in partnership with Catelli), 2015
**Google Trends, 2015