There are few things more comforting than a big bowl of pasta. Noodles of one kind or another are a staple in virtually every culture worldwide. Fom soba to spaghetti, these carby basics — most commonly made from wheat or rice — have their place in world-class restaurants and the most amateur of kitchens.
But even if noodles are a universally-loved culinary cornerstone (and a $60 billion industry, globally), they’re not impervious to the winds of change. As alternative and restricted diets become better-known in the mainstream, food scientists and startups are finding new ways to make noodles that offer something different. And consumers are taking notice.
As awareness continues to spread about celiac disease and related intolerances or allergies, consumers are looking more and more into gluten– and wheat-free pasta alternatives. And it’s big business: Currently estimated around $909 million, the gluten-free pasta market is expected to reach a valuation of over $1 billion by 2025. And gluten avoiders aren’t the only ones pushing for different kinds of pasta. Thanks in part to the continued popularity of the keto diet, weight- and health-conscious consumers are shying away from carbs in favor of diets high in protein and fat. For a slew of reasons, people today are hoping to get something else out of their favorite pasta and noodle dishes. It’s no longer enough for a gluten-free pasta to just taste like the regular kind — it’s got to have some additional nutrition benefits as well.