World Cup of Nutbutters, Hazel vs. Pea

June 6, 2008 at 8:38 pm | Posted in food | 5 Comments
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So, I’m back in the States again, for the summer and maybe longer… But never fear — I have such a backlog of restaurants and exhibits to share from my last two weeks in Paris, I can probably put together a couple of months worth of Paris-based posts without breaking stride.

Right now, though, I have to share a change I’ve noticed since last time I was in the US: commercials for Nutella on tv!

Nutella has been available in America since at least the 80s, but in my memory it was always a specialty item, sold in the “international foods” section of gourmet supermarkets, and regarded as a mark of sophistication among fans, who might say things like, “Could you pick me up some Nutella? I developed a taste for it back when I spent a semester in Florence.”

The new marketing campaign, however, is all home-grown. The tv spot emphasizes Nutella’s properties as a fast and healthful breakfast food, rather than a nostalgic sweet from the old country. And instead of baguettes and crepes, the website shows Nutella spread on classic American breadstuffs, like english muffins, whole wheat bread, and bagels. The only hint of Nutella’s European pedigree is in the history section, which notes that Nutella was first sold in Italy — and subtly snarks that Nutella “outsells all brands of peanut butter combined worldwide!”

Take that, peanut butter. American kids may think you’re tops, but the rest of the world scarfs Nutella.



  1. why not combine them? better than a resse’s peanut butter cup sandwich!

  2. you know, it’s funny, because I absolutely adore peanut butter cups, and as a rule I love peanut butter and chocolate together. But I think the textures of peanut butter and nutella are too similar… on the same piece of bread, they always make me gag. I’m probably the only one, though.

  3. I doubt that it’s healthful. The US packaging should state that it uses partially-hydrogenated oils, which we all know is far from “healthful”. In Europe, it’s just peanut oil, which I think should definitely be labeled partially-hydrogenated. Nutella’s got two things working for it: it’s got chocolate, and it’s got an emotional association. But it’s still sweet junk.

    Chocoreale (I think it’s a German brand) is a better alternative: bio/organic, indicates either hazelnuts or chocolate as its main/primary ingredient, and uses no partially-hydrogenated oils.

  4. True, Chloe — in fact, Nutella apparently got into so trouble recently with a UK television ad that made unsupported health claims. The American ad merely suggested that you use Nutella to get your kids to eat otherwise healthy food, like whole grain bread. But of course, you could always deep fry your whole grains and cover them in sugar, kids would probably like that, too.

  5. I was back in the Midwest for a couple of weeks recently and noticed that people seemed to have not been quite as morbidly obese as I remember- Nutella ought to remedy that situation.

    We missed you at the Writers Meeting- a bunch of new faces, I don’t like it one bit!!!!!

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