Is Barilla Italian or American? All there is to know

Barilla was founded in Parma in 1877 and, since then, it has always been Italian to the core. Barilla is Italian in its close relationship with its land, in its continuous quest for innovation in technologies, processes and products. And it is profoundly Italian in the entrepreneurial spirit that has led it to become the world’s largest pasta manufacturer.
Only for a very short period of time, eight years in its long 140 years of life, the company was “American”. 
In 1971, Barilla was indeed sold to the American multinational WR GRACE by brothers Pietro and Gianni, pushed by family and personal reasons, but also by the complex historical-social period they lived in, a period characterised by tensions that contributed to the decision of selling the business.

It was not at all an easy choice.

And facts, as it is always the case with Barilla, are self-explanatory: already in 1979, i.e. after eight years of second thoughts and regrets, Pietro Barilla succeeded in making his dream of buying back the company come true, for which he even mortgaged his house.

Fake news about being an American-owned company

In 1979, the Company became Italian again and since then, in a case history that is truly unique considering the current choices made by many famous Italian groups that are selling shares to foreign buyers, it has always been Italian and in the hands of the Barilla family. 
This is why the statement that Barilla is American is false and should be considered fake news: the alleged scoop that the ownership of Barilla is no longer Italian has been around for years and is back periodically, online and on other media, to invite consumers to boycott the Company. 
This is definitely fake news designed specifically to ignore the truth of facts that are written in Barilla’s history: except for a short period of 8 years (1971-1979), Barilla has always been 100% Italian, from its foundation until today.
Unlike what some people wrongly maintain, Barilla is definitely not American.

Barilla does not use mouldy wheat

And it does not use mouldy wheat in the production of its pasta either: it is fake news again that has been often associated to that of being an American company. This is another false news, based on wrong assumptions and misleading information.
For years now, fake news has been around calling for consumers to boycott Barilla for allegedly using mouldy wheat from America and Canada containing very high levels of mycotoxins.  Also in this case it is false information: Barilla does not use genetically modified raw materials and the levels of contaminants or mycotoxins are always below the limits set by Food Safety standards.
To produce its pasta, Barilla uses only and exclusively high quality durum wheat that undergoes hundreds of thousands of controls: in-house, carried out by Barilla itself, but also performed by independent laboratories and bodies that check compliance with Italian and European standards. 

Barilla and the American market

America is one of the many countries from where every year Barilla buys part of the large amount of high quality wheat it needs to produce its pasta. America in general is one of the most interesting markets for the Emilia-Romagna Company both from a strategic point of view and in terms of sales.

Chicago Headquarters

Evidence of this is the opening of the new Chicago headquarters, in the United States, in 2015. The Barilla management wanted a new office of 7,000 square metres to enhance the experience of workers and customers as well, and to increase research, development and innovation capacities. 
A business challenge, but at the same time a goal that “opens a new and exciting chapter that talks about the passion we feel for continuous innovation. This is the way we grow our business”, declared Chairman Guido Barilla on that occasion.

Barilla Restaurants

The importance of the American market is further reinforced by the attention the company attaches to promoting healthy eating habits based on the Mediterranean Diet in its Barilla Restaurants: the first one opened in New York in 2014 and during the years it has become a reference point in Manhattan, also thanks to technological innovations, such as an unprecedented digital window developed with Microsoft, which its customers have grown to use.
During 2017, the company has doubled its commitment opening a much-awaited second restaurant in the Los Angeles area.

Barilla certainly has a close tie to America: it is one of the foreign markets from which it imports part of the high quality durum wheat it needs to produce its pasta and it is a strategic market for its overall business. 

But Barilla has always been Italian in its commitment, heart and soul.