Comfort foods. We may disagree on what qualifies, but most will be hard put to argue against a list including chocolate and hazelnut paste Nutella, which has been spread generously over breakfast bread for more than four and a half decades. Nutella is made by Ferrero, a large but very private Italian firm which also produces the maybe over hyped Ferrero Rocher chocolates, and the Kinder range.
But the private world of Ferrero came out into the open recently when, so it’s been claimed, that same draft EU legislation that has spawned the spurious “EU Bans A Dozen Eggs” has threatened the very existence of Nutella. Given than, as I’ve pointed out, the screaming headlines and the reality were two different things where the “dozen eggs” story was concerned, the first thought that occurs is one of scepticism.
And this may be the right approach: the draft legislation talks of displaying such things as fat, salt and sugar content clearly on food packaging – so, in the case of Nutella, that would mean on the front of the jar. Would the revelation of how much sugar goes into the product be enough to kill it off, as some have suggested? Doubtful. What may be spooking the secretive folks at Ferrero is that some of their closely guarded recipe may be revealed to their competitors.
But then, any other firm – and this particular corner of the comfort food market does have other players – could just buy a jar of Nutella and figure out the contents for itself. Which leaves the thought that Ferrero may be doing no more than lobbying against what will be no more than a minor inconvenience, the kind of change to labelling that comes round every few years in any case.
Which appears to be the case: Ferrero have now acknowledged that there never was any threat to Nutella. But the case does demonstrate that it’s not just in the UK that the food industry will lobby, using suitably apocalyptic language, against an EU that is all too easy to demonise.