Ferrero was forced to admit the change after a German consumer group discovered the change.
Not that major brands haven’t tweaked the recipes of flagship products in the past for all sorts of reasons (we’re looking at you New Coke!), but the move has been especially popular of late, primarily as big companies adapt to the clean eating trend by axing things like artificial ingredients. Hey, at least that’s a decent excuse—which is something you should have in these situations. As opposed to Ferrero, which recently changed the recipe for Nutella in Germany without any explanation, a decision that’s upset fans of the chocolate hazelnut spread.
Late last week, the German-based Hamburg Consumer Protection Center took to its Facebook page to announce that it had found something fishy about the country’s Nutella. Pointing to a subtle change in the ingredients lists on the chocolate spread’s bottle, the group showed that the amount of powdered skim milk in the product had jumped to 8.7 percent from 7.5 percent. Though that might not seem like a big deal, and the rest of the ingredient list remained the same, the Consumer Protection Center determined that the uptick in milk was significant enough to lighten the color of the Nutella as well.
The rejiggered recipe had other ramifications too. As a result, the already sugary spread saw its percentage of sugar rise to 56.3 percent from 55.9 percent, while the amount of fat in a jar of Nutella dropped to 30.9 percent from 31.8 percent. Though Ferrero, maker of Nutella, doesn’t have to disclose the exact nature of the change outside of what is indicated on the label, the Hamburg organization said that evidence suggests the chocolate maker swapped in powdered milk for the more expensive cocoa; however, the exact reasons for that change would be speculative.
But despite not going into many details about the changes, Ferrero did admit that the Consumer Protection Center had caught them red-handed, with the German subsidiary of the Italian-based confectionary giant saying it did “fine-tune” the recipe, making some minor “adjustments” as many companies “regularly” are wont to do.
Also up in the air is whether these changes were only made in the German version of the spread or whether Nutella’s recipe was altered across Europe and in other parts of the world. While the United States version of Nutella is slightly different than its Italian counterpart, as the Daily Mail points out, some debate also exists as to whether Nutella is the same from country to country on the European continent as well. Regardless, Nutella’s cult-like fans are rightfully upset that the brand would make changes behind their back. At the very least, Ferrero, just lie and slap “New & Improved” on the label!