5 fun facts about Nutella you should know


Nutella is in the spotlight again over the controversial ingredient palm oil, which was recently listed as a cancer risk by food safety authorities in Europe.

Palm oil is also widely used by other food companies in products such as chocolate, snacks, and margarine, but Nutella maker Ferrero has been vocal in defending the use of the cheap vegetable oil.

This is not the first time that the use of palm oil has thrown Nutella into the public eye. Ironically, the hazelnut spread did not originally contain palm oil. Here are more fun facts about Nutella:

1. It was created because of a shortage of cocoa

Photo: www.nutella.com

Italian pastry maker Pietro Ferrero, founder of his namesake company, was facing a limited supply of cocoa, which was being rationed during the post-war period of the mid-1940s.

He decided to add just a pinch of the rare cocoa to a paste made of hazelnuts and sugar and named his creation Giandujot. This paste was initially sold in brick form, in the shape of a loaf, to be sliced and served on bread.

Giandujot was later transformed into a creamy version called SuperCrema in 1951.

2. It didn't initially contain palm oil

Photo: www.nutella.com

Ferrero's son Michele added palm oil to his father's recipe for a smoother texture, renamed it Nutella, and marketed it in its now-iconic jars.

3. There was a #NutellaGate

The hashtag trended on Twitter in June 2015 after French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal urged people to stop eating foods containing palm oil and cited Nutella as an example. She said that the growth of palm farming resulted in "a massive deforestation that has also increased global warming".

Days later, Ms Royal apologised for her comments, which upset Italian politicians and Nutella fans all over the world.

4. It was once sued for deceptive advertising

In 2011, a San Diego woman filed a US$3 million (S$4.3 million) class action lawsuit against Ferrero after discovering that the chocolate spread she had been buying for her husband and four-year-old daughter contained mostly sugar and fat.

She claimed she was misled to think that Nutella was "healthy" and "part of a balanced meal" by advertisements.

Ferrero agreed to a settlement, which allowed anyone in the US who purchased Nutella during a stipulated time period to file a claim and be awarded about US$4 a jar for up to five jars.

5. Each jar contains more than 50 hazelnuts

According to Bloomberg, Ferrero is the world's largest consumer of hazelnuts, using25 per cent of the global supply.

And since hazelnuts are considered a healthy food, there may be some benefits in that jar after all...