WASHINGTON — The National Pasta Association is expanding its membership universe with the launch of two new membership categories — foodservice and retail.

The NPA said the goal of the expansion is to “create a larger, more engaged NPA membership that is comprised of a diverse range of pasta industry representatives.” At present, NPA memberships are offered to pasta manufacturers; millers, including durum and wheat flour millers as well as grain producers; and associates, a designation that covers allied products, suppliers, service providers and other entities with an interest in pasta.

Among benefits of membership cited by the NPA were educational resources provided members through communications, webinars and attendance at the group’s annual meetings; networking opportunities; the opportunity to become involved with NPA forums, meetings and promotion and updates on public affairs work.

“NPA leadership wants to expand the organization’s reach and influence within the pasta industry and believes the more diverse and inclusive our member base is, the more knowledge we can all collectively gain,” said Carl Zuanelli, NPA chairman and founder and president of Nuovo Pasta Productions Ltd., Stratford, Conn. “We plan to do this by increasing membership for dry, fresh, and frozen pasta, including international and associate membership, and of course, exploring new membership categories.”

Within the foodservice category, the NPA is targeting companies that prepare, deliver, and serve prepared and ready-to-eat foods for consumers, including business and industry distributors, restaurant chains and independent restaurants.

Under retail, the NPA is reaching out to businesses that sell products to consumers, including grocery chains and stores, club stores, wholesalers and other retail stores.

“We are thrilled to be able to welcome new members and new member categories to the National Pasta Association,” said Delia Murphy, executive director of the NPA. “Not only will it add unique perspectives to our current membership, but it will better equip our organization as a whole to understand and communicate the story of pasta in the US and around the world.”

In addition to the new membership categories, the NPA said it will add non-formal membership categories in 2021 to include what the group is calling “industry contributors.” Included in this group will be pasta industry experts and “ambassadors.”