Two segments within the pasta category -- imports and refrigerated offerings -- are experiencing difficulties, retailers told SN.
products because exporters were allegedly selling pasta in the U.S. market at less than fair value prices.
Jula Kinnaird, president of the National Pasta Association, Arlington, Va., said the final determinations will be made by the Commerce Department June 3.
But according to some retailers and wholesalers, the preliminary tariffs have already crushed the imported pasta empire.
"We've eliminated several lines [of imported pasta] because it's just not going to be competitive," said Brian Harger, buyer-merchandiser at Bozzuto's, Cheshire, Conn.
To replace the imports, some wholesalers told SN they are carrying more private-label pastas.
"Primarily, we're going back to domestic products," said Byron Maze, pasta buyer at Associated Wholesalers, Robesonia, Pa. "We do have our own private label in-house that we promote heavily."
Refrigerated pastas made a big splash when it was introduced earlier in the decade, but most retailers and wholesalers told SN the popularity of refrigerated pastas seems to be cooling off. "They've calmed down," said Rich Ehrhart, buyer-merchandiser for the York, Pa., division of Fleming Cos., Oklahoma City. "They're not doing near what they were at first."
Statistics obtained from the National Pasta Association confirm the retailers' sentiments. While from 1991 to 1992, U.S. consumption of refrigerated pasta increased 10.9%, the category only realized a 1.5% increase from 1993 to 1994.
Most retailers and wholesalers cited high price, a short shelf-life and dwindling advertising efforts as barriers to refrigerated pasta's continued growth.