The original ooey, gooey, out-of-this-world hazelnut chocolate spread's ingredients are getting some fine-tuning. A consumer protection group announced on Nov. 2 that Nutella is changing its recipe, and the spread's devotees are Not. Happy about it. But, what is Nutella made of anyway? And, what is it changing to?
Nutella confirmed on Twitter on Nov. 8 that it "underwent a fine-tuning" after the Hamburg Consumer Protection Center in Germany reported that the recipe was different. According to the website Deutsche Welle, the new recipe upped the amount of powdered skim milk from 7.5 percent to 8.7 percent and increased the amount of sugar from 55.9 percent to 56.3 percent. Cocoa is also not listed as prominently on the label. Nutella has four other main ingredients; hazelnuts (of course), palm oil, lecithin, and vanillin.
Ferrero said in a statement obtained by Elite Daily,
We produce Nutella with the same care all over the world. And we make sure our consumers are fully satisfied with the unique Nutella experience through frequent and robust taste tests.
The recent fine-tuning we performed is only a minor change. Concretely in the US, the content of hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar and palm oil remains unchanged. The fine-tuning consists of substituting whey powder with an equivalent quantity (2.1g/100g total product) of milk powder (from 6.6% to 8.7% of total product). This enables us to improve the overall quality of the milk content and to ensure a better consistency of our unique taste over time.
That’s all. Our recipe contains 7 simple ingredients, with no colors or preservatives. The nutritional values remain practically unchanged.
Aficionados of the product were quite upset about the change, so much so that the outcry led to the hashtag #NutellaGate, where fans expressed their distress over the changes. "Don't let the fake news distract you from what really matters. #Nutellagate you won't get away with this act of terror," one user tweeted.
But, unfortunately for consumers, the company doesn't even have to reveal that the ingredients are different, according to Deutsche Welle. Ferrero, the creator, has even come under scrutiny before for selling different versions of the product in Eastern Europe which were apparently less creamy than the jars sold elsewhere, according to Reuters.
While it's unclear why exactly Ferrero decided to mess with perfection, play god, and manipulate our emotions with the change, it's actually kind of funny that there's been such an outcry about the updated recipe, given the product's origins.
According to a history of the product from the BBC, Nutella was created after World War II because it was a more affordable alternative to chocolate. At the time, chocolate was very expensive, so mixing it with hazelnuts made it more accessible. The spread, which we now know as Nutella, started as a block version called Giandujot that had to be cut with a knife. A few years later, it transformed into a spread called Supercrema, before becoming the prized brand we know today in 1964.
Since its creation in 1946, Ferrero now has factories all around the world that make the spread. In fact, according to the BBC, the product uses the most hazelnuts in the world — a fourth of them all.
If you haven't enjoyed Nutella yourself, all I can say is: I'm sorry for you. It marries a nutty flavor with a chocolate spread consistency that's silkier than peanut butter. You can eat it on bread, with pretzels, on ice cream, or on a spoon by itself. It truly improves any food (and your day in an instant).
Some social media posters said that the changed product would appear lighter and taste sweeter — it's already pretty sweet — but it's possible that the outcry came from the sheer volume of people who love the stuff.
According to The Washington Post, Nutella sales have increased by 39 percent in the past five years in the U.S. alone. And, that's even with questions about the product's nutritional value. The Post reported that Ferrero has asked the Food and Drug Administration to make the serving size smaller because then a serving would list less calories. But, let's be honest: we're all going to eat the whole jar regardless.
I'd like to give the new Nutella the benefit of the doubt, but with so much change in these uncertain times, is nothing sacred?
Editor's note: Post was updated to include a statement from Ferrero.