Pietro Ferrero’s sweet success
The chocolatey, creamy spread was first made in Italy in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, the founder of Ferrero SpA, an Italian chocolatier and confectionery company.
The original spread as we know it now was actually sold in solid blocks, known as loaves, and called pasta gianduja.
Gianduja was the name of another chocolate spread invented in Turin, Italy, during Napoleon’s reign, of which about a third was cocoa.
It was also the name of a carnival character famous to the Piedmont region, whose image was used in the first advertisements for the company.
But wartime rationing during the 1940s meant that cocoa was in short supply, so Ferrero mixed it with hazelnuts to try to extend it.
Wrapped in tinfoil, it was originally sliced and put into sandwiches.
According to Nutella, it was changed to a spreadable paste called supercrema gianduja in 1964 because children were throwing away the bread part of their sandwiches and just eating the chunks of chocolate.
In 1964 it was officially renamed Nutella. The Ferrero Group says a kilo of chocolate at the time was six times the cost of a kilo of pasta gianduja, making it a popular choice for households, particularly those with children.
“The product became so popular that Italian food stores started a service called The Smearing,” the group says.
“Children could go to their local food store with a slice of bread for a smear of supercrema gianduja.”
It wasn’t until 1983 that Nutella was exported from Italy to the US, initially to the north-east of the country.
The Ferrero Group is now run by Giovanni Ferrero, one of Pietro Ferrero’s grandsons.
The company is regarded as one of the most secretive in the world, having never allowed any media into any of its 18 factories.
It now employs about 21,500 people with a product portfolio that includes Ferrero Rocher, Tic Tac mints and the Kinder line of products.
Published: May 19, 2014 04:00 AM