Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Nutella = junk food, part 2

(If you haven’t already, read the original post on Nutella here.)

FAQ on a Nutella site  mentions this about modified palm oil:
“The modified palm oil is a mix of the liquid and solid oil naturally extracted from the fruit of the palm. The mix is adjusted to assure the best consistency for easy spreading. The process also reduces the level of saturated fat.”

Well, at least we know it is not hydrogenated — however, the phrase “mix is adjusted” could easily involve other questionable methods such as interesterification. The claim that it reduces saturated fats makes me even more suspicious of unnatural temperings.

Btw, the answers to all the FAQ’s are exquisitely worded to reassure us of it’s healthy nature.  For example, the very first question of “What is Nutella?” is answered by: “a deliciously unique spread made from the combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa”. No mention of the two largest ingredients by weight (sugar and modified palm oil).  It continues: “Nutella® has no artificial colors or preservatives“, which is true, but again no mention of the artificiality of the modified palm oil.

Another example of the misleading wording: “Hazelnuts are a main ingredient in Nutella®. Each 13 OZ jar contains about 50 hazelnuts.” Well, I tried to look up what 50 hazelnuts must weigh — according to wolframalpha, on average 2kg.  Which makes me suspect they used an incredibly tiny hazelnut variety.

According to Wikipedia, the formulation of the spread varies by country, no doubt tweaked to comply with local regulations and for best marketing angle.  Unlike the US/Canada ingredient list, the actual percentages of the ingredients are specified in other countries.  Assuming that the ratios are approximately the same, the touted ingredients are:

13% hazelnuts + 7.4% cocoa + 6.6% skim milk

for a total of 27%, the unmentioned rest being sugar, oil, and a bit of emulsifier and flavouring.

Healthy indeed.

I have to admit, they have a very skillful marketing department.


June 9, 2009 - Posted by | diet, health, nutrition | , , , , , , , ,


  1. 50 hazelnuts weigh 70g according to wolframalpha…

    Comment by Billy | June 28, 2009 | Reply

    • You’re absolutely right, Billy, wolframalpha now shows 70g for the weight of 50 hazelnuts, which is a much more realistic figure. When I looked at it on June 9th, it was 2kg, which I thought was excessive. The link I used at the time to get that info
      no longer works, so it must have been something that has been corrected since then.
      70g is 2.5 ounces, which is a bit over 19% of the 13oz jar — still more than the 13% they indicate for European countries, making their 50 hazelnuts quite a bit smaller in size than the average. I can just see marketing instructions of “find the smallest possible hazelnuts so we can claim and nice big round number in our ads.”

      Thanks for the correction.

      Comment by pragmasynesi | June 29, 2009 | Reply

  2. […] (Also check out Part 2) […]

    Pingback by Nutella = junk food « Pragma Synesi – interesting bits | October 9, 2009 | Reply

  3. Link: Nutella IS junkfood! The Proof

    Comment by pragmasynesi | May 11, 2012 | Reply

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