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MILAN (Reuters) - Revenues at Barilla, the world's biggest pasta maker, rose 2 percent last year, as a new five-cereal pasta and a broader range of gluten free biscuits helped the Italian group tap into growing consumer demand for healthier foods.
Parma-based Barilla said on Wednesday that sales of its "better-for-you" products rose by double digits last year, outpacing an overall 2 percent rise in revenue, at constant currencies, to 3.4 billion euros (£2.9 billion).
Barilla said it had revised 150 recipes of baked products last year to replace palm oil with vegetable oils with less saturated fats, especially sunflower oil.
It also launched 17 new whole grain products, or with a higher whole grain percentage, and extended its gluten free and protein plus ranges thanks to a 40 million euro investment.
Barilla also said it planned to expand its small restaurant chain by opening two new venues in Los Angeles and on the West Coast. It already runs three restaurants in Manhattan and two in Dubai offering Mediterranean cuisine.
Reporting by Francesca Landini. Editing by Jane Merriman