What does the number on pasta packaging mean?
It's time to answer a question you've never asked
Every pasta packet carries a number on the package, near the name of the type of pasta. But what does that number mean?
There are a lot of people out there wondering about that funny little number, so let's get to it.
Does it identify the thickness of pasta?
A lot of people think this is the case, but no. Even if at first sight you may think the number is referring to the pasta's thickness, it's not.
However, there is an exception: Barilla, the famous Italian pasta maker, has a numbering system to distinguish its formats of long pasta, such as spaghetti. For example, the thin Cappellini carries number 1, and so on as the thickness of the pasta increases.
On other manufacturers' pastas, you might see things like: Spaghettini - 3, Spaghetti - 5, Linguine - 13, Bucatini - 9 , Ziti - 74. Is this just a coincidence? Yes. Even if at first sight it seems like a logical increase related to the thickness, it's not.
So, what does it mean?
The answer is quite simple: it's nothing more than an identification number. Pasta is produced in big numbers and sold worldwide in huge quantities. Every producer has its own numbering system, which helps to identify the type of pasta, and it's known as a 'cut number'.