Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Happy 50th anniversary, Nutella

I'm so proud to be Italian. We built aqueducts that still function 2,000 years later. We nurtured Michelangelo, da Vinci, Puccini, and Anna Magnani. And we gave the world Nutella. This WNYC story by Dan Charles tells a great little corporate history of Ferrero, its wartime invention of Nutella, and how it drives the hazelnut market. The chocolate maker had to mix hazelnuts into its confections when it couldn't procure enough cocoa in World War II. Nutella was then sold in bars as pasta gianduja (here, pasta means paste). In 1964 it became Nutella in jars and has since become an international staple. 

A tasteful (!) anniversary campaign by Ferrero includes some polished corporate storytelling, including a portal that invites Nutella nuts to tell their own stories. A web store offers affordable celebration items, pictured above. 

Because of Nutella and a genetic tendency toward tree blight, hazelnuts are in short supply. The WNYC story reports that tree scientists at my alma mater Rutgers are working on a disease-resistant strain that can be cultivated worldwide. Glad that people at Rutgers are concentrating on something other than the Big Ten these days. While I freely admit that I prefer the company's other products, especially Ferrero-Rocher chocolate bon bons and Tic-Tacs, I nonetheless extend a big congratulazioni per il tuo cinquantesimo anniversario to Nutella.