Pasta represents a staple food in many populations and, in recent years, an increasing number of pasta items has been placed on the market to satisfy needs and trends. The aims of this work were: (i) to investigate the nutritional composition of the different types of pasta currently sold in Italy by collecting the nutrition facts on their packaging; (ii) to compare energy, nutrient and salt content per 100 g and serving in fresh and dried pasta; (iii) to compare the nutrition declaration in pairs of products with and without different declarations (i.e., gluten free (GF), organic, and nutrition claims (NC)). A total of 756 items, made available by 13 retailers present on the Italian market, were included in the analysis. Data showed a wide difference between dried and fresh pasta, with high inter-type variability. A negligible amount of salt was observed in all types of pasta, except for stuffed products, which had a median high quantity of salt (>1 g/100 g and ~1.5 g/serving). Organic pasta had higher fibre and lower protein contents compared to conventional pasta. GF products were higher in carbohydrate and fat but lower in fibre and protein than not-GF products, while only a higher fibre content was found in pasta with NC compared to products not boasting claims. Overall, the results show high variability in terms of nutrition composition among the pasta items currently on the market, supporting the importance of reading and understanding food labels for making informed food choices.
Keywords: food labelling; gluten free; nutrition claims; nutrition declaration; nutritional composition; pasta.