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13 Things You Didn't Know About Nutella

In honor of World Nutella Day, learn more about the beloved sweet spread.

You probably know Nutella as a highly-addictive, incredibly tasty, and potentially healthy spread that toes the line of breakfast food and dessert. The hazelnut-cocoa product, which officially made its way overseas in the 1980's, could be the most popular food ever imported from the EU.

Nutella found all-American fame after a marketing push at the beginning of the last decade. Millennials remember eating it with peanut butter, instead of peanut butter, and just generally as being the most important item in the peanut butter aisle. The flavor was just rich enough for our teenage palettes. Turns out, the spread's history is pretty rich, too. In honor of this year's World Nutella Day, we help you get to know Nutella more intimately with 13 sweet fun facts.

American Nutella is not identical to its European sister

nutella red background

But they're close! The difference between a few key ingredients makes for a reportedly noticeable difference in taste. Stateside, Nutella uses palm oil, cocoa, skim milk, and reduced minerals whey, whereas overseas, it calls for vegetable oil, fat-reduced cocoa powder, skimmed milk poser, and whey powder.

As far as how that transfers into taste? Apparently, American Nutella is far oilier and more mildly flavored.

A quarter of the world's hazelnuts end up in Nutella

hazelnuts in burlap container

That's right—plenty of hazelnuts were harmed in the making of that jar at your desk. Twenty-five percent of all hazelnuts harvested annually, to be exact. We've never had so much respect for hazelnut farmers.

The amount of Nutella produced in a year weighs as much as the Empire State Building

nutella at the supermarket

Or 365,000 tons, to be exact. That much chocolate spread could circle the world 1.8 times. You could build 22,000 Big Ben replicas with it. And you could line the Great Wall of China eight times with the number of jars sold in a year.

Nutella loves measuring their output in terms of international landmarks. Check out more metrics on their website.

In the beginning, Nutella was a way to make chocolate more affordable

eating nutella with a spoon

During World War II, chocolate was both expensive and scarce across Europe. Determined cocoa-lover and Italian pastry-maker Pietro Ferrero mixed hazelnuts with his rations of the delicacy to make it last longer. Thus, an early version of Nutella was born.

In its early days, Nutella was actually a loaf

spoon of nutella

It wasn't really a spread at all! Ferrero originally designed the chocolate-hazelnut paste as a loaf, which could then be sliced and placed on individual pieces of bread, like you might do with a cut of meat or piece of American cheese. We're actually strangely into this idea.

Nutella continues to be a family business

ferrero offices

After Pietro passed away, his son, Michele, took over the family business and created the modern-day version of Nutella—you know, the one that comes in a jar, not a loaf. He died in 2015, but his son, Giovanni, had already slid into the role of CEO. Talk about a chocolate dynasty.

France tried to pass a "Nutella tax"

nutella and go container

They weren't actually taxing the chocolatey treat. Instead, they went after palm oil, one of its most commonly used ingredients. Citing the fact that extreme demand for palm oil has resulted in rainforest deforestation (farmers are clearing it out to make room for palm tree plantations), the government wanted to slap a big surtax on imported palm oil. Under pressure from other countries, they've had to reduce the tax to almost 10 percent of what they originally proposed.

A French court banned a couple from naming their daughter after it

nutella on bread with glass of milk and knife

It may be fair to say that the spread has more run-ins with the law in France than anywhere else. In 2015, a court in France refused to allow a couple to name their daughter Nutella. Instead, she's called Ella.

It's sold in 160 countries

nutella jars

In just over 50 years since its official humble beginnings in Italy, Nutella's become an international household name—it is available in 160 countries.

Despite nuts being its namesake ingredient, Nutella is not healthy

nutella cookies

In 2012, Ferrero was slammed with a class-action lawsuit over the advertising language which claimed that Nutella was part of a healthy breakfast. The first ingredient is sugar, and it doesn't get much better from there. So, sadly, Nutella is confirmed as more of an indulgence than a protein source.

Regardless, the spread has its own international holiday

jar of nutella and spoon

A pair of Italian bloggers channeled our universal love into World Nutella Day. On February 5, 2020, celebrate the 14th Annual World Nutella Day by eating, sharing, and staring at the best Nutella-inspired desserts the internet has to offer. Or enter the Nutella sweepstakes to win a free jar and, if you're really lucky, an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy!

A jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds

jar of nutella with knife

In the 10 minutes you've spent scrolling through these facts, 240 jars were sold. The Ferrero family is doing just fine, thank you very much.

There are 52 hazelnuts per jar

nutella in white bowl

That means that, according to Nutella advertisements, over 12,000 hazelnuts were packed into those 240 jars that just sold. And, believe it or not, those hazelnuts only account for 13 percent of the product!

The easy way to make healthier comfort foods.

Kaley Roberts
Kaley Roberts is a food writer. Read more about Kaley
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