Nutella is one of those foods people are obsessed with. There are plenty of knockoffs available, but if you’re a true Nutella-holic, those don’t cut it. So we’re giving you the top 10 untold truths of your favorite hazelnut spread.
10. There is a LOT of Nutella Going Around
It’s no secret that Nutella is a beloved food staple all over the world. According to the Nutella website, with the amount of Nutella produced and sold in a year could circle the entire world 1.8 times, cover the entire Great Wall of China 8 times, and line the banks of the Danube River 26 times. Not only that, but the site also says that if you piled up the total amount of Nutella produced in a year, it would weigh the same as the Empire State Building (that’s about 365,000 tons). When you put it all into this perspective, it’s no wonder there are so many Nutella-holics out there. Nutella is available all over the world and is a beloved staple in almost every country, so it’s no surprise that humans purchase this much of it. In fact, there have even been some Nutella pop-up shops in some of the major cities across the U.S., such as the one that happened on National Pancake Day in February 2020. Who needs syrup, anyway? In Chicago, the world’s first Nutella cafe opened in May 2017, completely owned and operated by the Ferrero Group. Guests can come and enjoy all things Nutella with delicious baked goods, take-home treats, and more.
9. 25% of the World’s Hazelnut Supply Goes to Nutella
Well, what would you expect when we just pointed out that you could circle the entire world with the amount of Nutella people buy every year? Considering that every jar contains 50 hazelnuts, this massive chunk of the hazelnut industry makes sense. If you happen to be in the hazelnut growing business, you probably have Nutella to thank for a large portion of your profits. Nutella was born in the region of Piedmont, Italy, which is known for specializing in hazelnut farming. Pietro Ferrero, who invented your favorite chocolatey spread, was simply capitalizing on the resources he had available to him when he developed the first form of Nutella. It obviously worked. Things just wouldn’t be the same without all of those hazelnuts stuffed inside every jar.
8. World Nutella Day is a Thing
It’s on February 5, folks. There’s an official website and everything. It was started by an American blogger, Sara Rosso, but it’s now run by the company itself. Rosso originally got the whole event started because she loved Nutella so much that she wanted everyone else to celebrate with her. Perhaps she just wanted to make herself feel better about her own Nutella obsession. Either way, she’s clearly not alone because many other people began to join in and celebrate in their own ways, catching the attention of the Ferrerro Group itself, who naturally had to have a hand in operations once things got underway. Suggested ways to celebrate include writing a song about Nutella, take photos of your Nutella, give Nutella to someone you love, host a Nutella party, and obviously, eat lots of Nutella. In fact, stuff your face with it. If there is any day when eating Nutella right out of the jar by the spoonful is appropriate and even accepted, it’s February 5. Mark your calendars for next year.
7. Each Serving is a Sugar Overload
Many kids grew up piling the Nutella on their toast or baked goods every morning, and parents were probably just happy their kids were eating something. But in today’s world, where everyone is hyper-focused on giving their kids healthy, balanced goods, Nutella technically shouldn’t even make the cut. Forget about the war on sugary cereals. Nutella is a real culprit here. Each two-tablespoon serving of Nutella contains about 21 grams of sugar. That serving is actually 37 grams, which means that just over half of it is sugar. To put that in perspective, the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of sugar per day for children ages 2-18. For women, it’s also 25 grams, and for men, it’s about 37 grams. Not only is it full of sugar, but that two-tablespoon serving also contains 200 calories and 11 grams of fat. In Nutella’s defense, there are also 20 grams of protein in that serving. It’s just buried under the fat and sugar. Now, if you’ve been fooled by those commercials showing its “simple” ingredients like hazelnuts and skim milk, strategically leaving out the mountain of sugar and palm oil, you’re not alone. At one point, Nutella was sued for $3 million by a mom who apparently had no idea Nutella wasn’t healthy because the advertising and commercials usually frame it as part of a nutritious breakfast. Now is a good time to start reading those nutrition labels.
6. DON’T Call it Chocolate Cream
According to Italian Law, the correct terminology for Nutella and various spreads is extremely serious business. In Italy, Nutella is only allowed to be called hazelnut cream. You are not allowed to call it chocolate cream. Why? Because it doesn’t meet the minimum requirement of cocoa solids to be called chocolate cream. You’d think this really wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the fact that it had to be a part of the law shows that people in Italy really take their Nutella seriously. Here’s a fun fact: when Nutella was invented by Pietro Ferrero, Italy, the country was facing a shortage of cocoa powder after World War II. For this reason, Ferrero was looking for something to blend with the cocoa powder he had to make his product supply go further. That’s where hazelnuts came in, and it’s for this reason that hazelnuts are the more dominant ingredient in the recipe. Things haven’t changed, and that’s probably for the best because if they did there would likely be an angry population of people around the world.
5. It’s in Your Ferrero Rochers
Some of you may already know this, but Nutella was actually invented by Italian chocolate king Pietro Ferrero and perfected by his son, Michele Ferrero. These two are also responsible for the creation of Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and their company, The Ferrero Group, still owns the products. But did you know that the chocolate layer around the hazelnut inside those Ferrero Rochers is actually Nutella? That’s right – tucked inside the signature golden wrapper of these popular high-quality chocolates is your favorite sugary spread. Chances are if you’re a Nutella-holic, you probably can’t get enough Ferrero Rochers as well. It makes sense, considering the company invented Nutella before they invented the signature chocolate we all know and love. Why not put one thing people love right into another thing people love, and save yourself some supply chain costs in the process? The Ferrero Group also owns Kinder, another brand that includes indulgent hazelnut treats, and Tic Tacs, incase you were wondering.
4. It’s Not Supposed to go in the Fridge
Chances are if you’ve already tried this before you’ll know why. As we already discussed, Nutella is packed with sugar. That high sugar content makes it shelf-stable and preserves its life without the need for refrigeration. It’ll be super edible and delicious right up until that best before date, but chances are it won’t last that long, anyway. If you do try putting it in the fridge, good luck spreading it on anything. When the spread gets cold, the palm oil hardens. That means the Nutella hardens, and it’s no longer that rich, creamy texture that goes well on toast. As we all know, hard foods + toast = fail. The long shelf life is what has made Nutella so appealing in the first place. In Italy, at the time Nutella was invented in 1946, it still wasn’t super common for people to have fridges in their homes because they were still largely expensive. People could buy the spread and keep it in their cupboards if they couldn’t afford a refrigerator. To this day, it’s a popular custom for people in Europe to purchase foods fresh daily instead of relying on the fridge to keep it all preserved. Nutella just makes things easier.
3. There is a Market For Nutella Locks
Do you love Nutella but hate sharing it? Or maybe you find that your Nutella keeps disappearing in your home because your roommates, kids, or spouse keep getting a hold of it? Well, you’re in luck. We’ve got a solution for you: the Nutella Lock. That’s right – someone actually made a lock specifically for your jar of Nutella, and there is actually a market for it. There are actually plenty of versions of the Nutella lock available, but they all use the same premise. Each one features a piece of plastic that sits on top of your Nutella jar, with a little device that locks the plastic so you need the code or key to get into the jar. Everything inside stays protected and safe from hungry roommates, sneaky siblings, or even parents looking for a sweet treat. If you head to Etsy, you can actually find a whole world of Nutella products that you can keep for yourself or gift to that Nutella-holic in your life. There’s everything from little Nutella earrings to personalized spreading spoons and even personalized mini jars. This just takes dedication to an entirely new level.
2. Imported and Domestic Versions Are Different
Nutella lovers living in North America who have sampled the European (original) version may have noticed that it tastes a little different when made at home. A side by side comparison would show that the ingredients are all the same, so why do people still think that the Italian delicacy tastes better when imported from Europe rather than made on North American soil? Some diehard Nutella aficionados believe that the North American version tastes sweeter and has less of that hazelnut taste than the Italian one. Fortunately, if this concerns you, someone at The Washington Post is clearly a Nutella lover because they launched an investigation to figure out what gives. The writer, Jim Webster, actually went to an Italian pastry chef to get to the bottom of it, but they didn’t really get a clear answer. They established that there is a difference, but that it’s probably something to do with the way they’re roasted or the number of trans fats in the European version. If this is something you care about, you can always perform your own taste test right at home by buying your Nutella from an Italian import supplier.
1. It’s Made With Sustainable Palm Oil
Palm oil has gained quite a negative reputation over the years for being an environmentally and socially damaging product. It’s not really the product itself, but the practices used in obtaining and harvesting it. Palm oil is largely harvested from tropical forest lands in Indonesia, Malaysia, and South America. Often, these lands are destroyed in order to harvest the crop, leading to environmental damage, greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation resulting in biodiversity loss, and habitat destruction for many endangered species. Additionally, some palm oil practices infringe on the rights of various Indigenous Peoples because these lands are cleared and cultivated without the permission of those living there. However, don’t go blaming Nutella. They’re aware of all of this. The company states that they’re dedicated to environmental responsibility and that they use 100% RSPO-certified palm oil in their products. RSPO stands for the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a nonprofit organization that upholds standards in sustainable palm oil practices around the world. Ferrero also has a 10-point Palm Oil Charter that lists requirements for its palm oil suppliers. The bottom line? If you care about the environment and generally avoid products made from palm oil, you don’t need to sacrifice Nutella. Breathe that sigh of relief and dip that spoon back into the jar. You know you want to.