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It’s all about Pasta: What is the GCC’s favourite sauce?

November 24, 2020

We love pasta and we’re pretty sure you do too. The interest in our favourite Italian dish has grown heavily across the GCC. It has grown over the decades to become a part of the adopted Western culture in the region.

The sector has experienced a growth of up to 10% for the past few years. This comes as no surprise with the increase in number of competing brands and according to the study published in the Journal ‘Frontiers in Nutrition’, pasta consumption in adult females was associated with reduced waist circumference, body weight and body mass index (BMI).

With the growing health concern, with pasta being seen as a favourable dish – and now healthy too – there has been a hugely noticeable growth in the industry.

The bigger question remains, how much growth? And what sauces do consumers prefer pairing it with?

Growth in consumption

The Italian dish has left its mark on the GCC. We dug into our Sila data warehouse to examine the mentions of pasta in the KSA and the UAE, and the results were quite remarkable.


As illustrated, mentions have been seeing a constant increase since the beginning of the year. Although it had low points in June and August, they always continued to make their way up again.

3,935 posts mentioning pasta were published over the last 11 months, those were able to gain over 7 million interactions and over 110 million video views with a noticable peak towards the end of April, or the Ramadan period.

Types of Pasta

While pasta in itself is quite the popular dish, the use of wording is quite important. “Macaroni” was found to be the most popularly associated word, often used to identify all types of pasta. It’s no surprise, then, that macaroni mentions made up 58% of the overall mentions, while spaghetti was the second most popular pasta type with 11%.


Our favourite pairing

Additionally, the most popular pasta sauces were next to be identified.

Although most creators do not mention any types of sauces (87%), Bechamel sauce (8%) is the most popular type. Pesto (2.6%) and pink sauces (1%) remain amongst the most used condiments.

Mentions of sauces
Mentions of sauces

Popular pasta dishes in KSA & the UAE include Macaroni and Bechamel, Pasta with pesto sauce and maybe a plate of Lasagna with Bechamel sauce.


The Action

Finally, with the continuing growth in demand of pasta across the GCC, as a creative consultancy agency; Digital Ape advices the use of the right pairing for pasta-related campaigns.

With the knowledge of the consumers’ demand, we are able to create recipes that are not just suitable for the audience, but what they would actually prefer to see or replicate.

Using the data in hand, we are able to attract pasta consumers by identifying their interests and creating content that is both engaging and interesting to them.


DA has built a custom data warehouse service called Sila, powered by data science we turn that raw social data into actionable insights. We then turn those insights into effective campaigns for our clients.

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