The origin of wheat for Barilla pasta

Using quality raw materials for the production of pasta for Barilla is not only a production requirement. It is rather a corporate and ethical responsibility that the Barilla family has felt as its own for 140 years: it is rooted in the land, in the wheat fields and in the culture based on the respect for land, people and the environment.

Where does Barilla wheat come from?

This responsibility has become a mission over time: for the production of its flagship product, pasta, the Company uses exclusively high quality durum wheat with high protein content.  Exclusively high quality wheat coming not only from Italy, where there is not enough available due to climate and land conditions, but also from foreign growers that satisfy the strict quality requirements requested by Barilla. Every year, we import on average 30% of the wheat required to produce our pasta, selecting it amongst the best varieties in the world and imported mainly from France, North America and Australia in percentages that vary depending on the quality of crops.

The origin of wheat for Barilla pasta is a guarantee of quality. In 2016, the company purchased globally 1,167,000 tons of durum wheat: approximately 70% comes from local suppliers who are close to where Barilla produces pasta (Italy, United States, Greece, Turkey, Russia). In Italy, it purchased 732 thousand tons of durum wheat, which accounts for about 54% of the overall wheat that is bought in Italy.

Wheat from Italy

Italy remains one of the reference points of origin for Barilla wheat. This is proven by the supply chain agreements, contracts with local farmers to get the best durum wheat that the company has been doing for more than ten years. For the 2017-2019 period, Barilla has committed to purchase 900 thousand tons of Italian wheat from 5,000 local farms in Lombardy, Veneto, Emilia Romagna, Marche, Umbria, Tuscany, Lazio, Abruzzo, Molise, Basilicata, Campania and Apulia.
Barilla pays farmers a financial incentive linked to the wheat quality parameters they provide: being paid about 10-15% more than the average market price thanks to the agreements with Barilla, farmers enjoy a profitability that is on average 25% higher than with standard contracts.
In this way, not only does Barilla contribute to increasing the production of Italian quality durum wheat but it also contributes to “adequately remunerating farmers, so that they will be able to better plan their management of equipment and resources”, explains Luca Virginio, Communication and External Relations Manager for Barilla Group.

The high quality of Barilla wheat

Raw materials from the best Italian and world producers, but also great attention for the entire production chain. Over time, Barilla has started a true “virtuous” circle of actions supporting quality.

  • A full spectrum support for farmers. The abovementioned supply chain agreements are certainly Barilla’s main initiative to support farmers. However, the role of technology should not be overlooked: Barilla means also “”, a software that helps farmers to analyse parameters such as meteorological forecasts, soil fertility, etc. in view of achieving the best quality possible.
  • Barilla supports the quest for high quality wheat in the best laboratories ever: the fields. For more than 25 years, Barilla has developed new and more sustainable varieties, rigorously non-GMO, following the times of nature, which may be long. It may take between 8 and 10 years to get new wheat varieties, and since 1989, Barilla has developed seven, suitable to be grown successfully in the various parts of Italy. To mention one of these, the Aureo wheat that does not need to be irrigated, has enabled the Company to replace imports from the USA with purchases from Southern Italy, thus saving water and reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Barilla promotes the cultivation of sustainable durum wheat. Giving farmers the wheat variety that is the most suitable for their land means granting them an increase of yields, a reduction of costs of up to 30% and a net profit per hectare that is about 20% higher than in a traditional system.
    For Barilla it is a responsibility, which is an environmental one this time: optimising farming techniques has enabled it to reduce CO2 emissions by 35% in the last 3 years.

To become familiar with the “world” that lies behind Barilla pasta, there is nothing better than watching with your own eyes: the online platform shows all consumers in an open and transparent way how the production supply chain works, where Barilla wheat comes from, how it is selected, the role of mills and pasta plants, as well as the faces of Barilla people.
A way to get to know the soul behind every wheat kernel that becomes pasta on our tables.

Because Good for You, Good for the Planetis not only a catchphrase. This has been the life mission for generations of Barilla people.