Do you eat your Nutella as a dessert topping, spread on toast or straight out of the jar?
It may seem like a strange question for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ask, but a long dispute between the Italian company, Ferrero who make Nutella and the U.S. health officials needs to be cleared up.
In the U.S., Nutella is classed as a dessert topping much like treacle and chocolate syrup. However, in Europe, where Nutella is immensely popular, it is classed as a ‘jam’ or spread for toast. So why is the American Nutella-eating habits so important? Well, it’s all down to the serving sizes on the side of a Nutella jar.
At the moment a single serving size is two tablespoons (around 200 calories) which is the amount an average person would put on top of their ice cream for example. If it’s classed as a jam, the serving size should be stated as one tablespoon and this is what Ferrero is fighting for.
Ferrero argues the two-tablespoon serving size makes it difficult for consumers to make fair comparisons between Nutella and other spreads.
Classing Nutella as a ‘jam’ as it is in other countries, would make the product much more appealing to consumers but the FDA are adamant that it is a high-calorie, high-sugared indulgence and should be classed as such.
Ferrero believe more people use Nutella as a spread rather than dessert topping and did their own investigation to prove this. They asked 722 mothers in a survey about their Nutella habits and 74 percent said they use it as a spread or sandwich filling while only 2 percent used it as a dessert topping.
The Italian company insist that Nutella, as a one tablespoon serving and part of a healthy diet, is a harmless option for breakfast and snacks and have promoted this message in their advertising campaigns.
“Ferrero’s most recent advertising and promotion has advocated the consumption of a balanced breakfast with the inclusion of Nutella as a tasty, complementary spread to add on to nutrient-rich whole grain breads, fruit, and dairy products,” stated the company.
Commenting on the label-change, the company said: “Consumers may falsely believe they should be applying two tablespoons of Nutella on their bread rather than the one tablespoon that is more ‘customarily consumed’.”