MILAN, June 5 (Reuters) - Barilla spent 250 million euros ($281 million) last year tweaking recipes, increasing production capacity and creating new products, including a chocolate spread that is challenging market leader Nutella, the world’s largest pasta maker said.
The food group launched chocolate spread Crema di Pan di Stelle on the Italian market at the beginning of this year.
The recipe is based on cocoa from sustainable farming and Italian nuts and it does not contain palm oil.
To meet rising demand for healthier food, Barilla also reduced the salt, fat, saturated fat and sugar content in 33 recipes, it said in a statement on Wednesday. Since 2010 the food group has reformulated 420 sauce, pasta and bakery recipes.
The family-owned company said revenue rose 3% from 2017 to 3.5 billion euros last year, when excluding currency swings. The turnover was stable at current exchange rates.
The group has pledged to invest 1 billion euros in 2018-2022 on innovation, sustainability and plant efficiency.
The first investments were deployed to increase capacity in some plants, including its sauce factory in Rubbiano, Italy and its pasta factory in Ames, United States.
$1 = 0.8902 euros Reporting by Francesca Landini; Editing by Kirsten Donovan