Food is a symbolic representation of culture within a nation. In Italy Nutella is more than a symbol but rather an iconic figure. The chocolate hazelnut spread can be seen in window displays, famous movie scenes, and in song lyrics. Now, the legendary Nutella must come face to face with the European Union to fight for its traditional existence.
The threat to ban Nutella is only in the beginning stages, based off of stricter European Union food labeling regulations. The new rules recently approved by European Union Parliament require all processed foods to have fat, sugar, and salt contents visibly printed on the front of their packaging. The goal is to bold startling nutrition facts about common foods to consumers, a compromise from previous proposals on making these foods bear a red warning label, to help stimulate healthier eating habits.
Comparatively, other European countries have taken stricter measures on healthy nutrition campaigns within their own countries. Denmark and Austria have made trans-fats illegal. Britain, Norway, and Sweden passed a bill banning junk food commercials at certain hours of the day. Romania is in the later stages of increasing taxes on an array of fatty foods. Beating poor nutrition and obesity has become a worldwide obsession. All of these countries, including Italy, have universal health care. Therefore the government has a greater interest in the welfare of its citizens as it is directly correlated with the countries money.
Legislation has only been approved at the early draft stages. Still, food produces have displayed unkind feelings toward the possibility of changing labels in fear of affects on their sales of products. Though this is a broad proposal across Europe, Italians have taken a fancy on arguing the bill based solely on their love for Nutella.
The future of Nutella, and its traditional packaging will be pressed forward in the European Union needing both a victory vote in the European Council, and then an overall approval by the European Union’s executive board. Until then the European Union will face opposition from a newly created “Hands off Nutella” committee, headed by Francesco Paolo Fluci, vice president at Ferrero Spa and former diplomat, and supported by a local governor, and the Italian people.
A Short History of Nutella
The founder of Nutella, Pietro Ferrero, has been selling Nutella since 1964. It was originally devised for a recipe for cake for the lower class. At the time cocoa beans were being heavily taxed due to short supplies after rationing during World War II. Ferrero, a pastry shop owner in Piedmont, Italy (an area known for its production of hazelnut) mixed hazelnut paste with chocolate to create an alternative to expensive desserts. Originally called Pasta Gianduja, this early form was sold in solid blocks but later replaced with a creamy version called Supercrema. Once Ferrero’s son Michele made plans to promote Supercrema across Europe he renamed it Nutella. Since its early stages Nutella has become a trademark icon to Italian culture and a rave across Europe.
Written by Emily Marullo
Politics Intern at The Florence Newspaper