All of us have to agree that Nutella is that one spread that adds a soul to all of our toasts. This chocolate was invented in the 1860s in Turin by Caffarel to reduce the price of chocolates and make them available to a wider public. In gianduiotto part of the cocoa is substituted by hazelnuts, a nut that is particularly frequent in Piedmont and throughout Italy. Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker from Piedmont in Italy, ingeniously created a sweet paste made from hazelnuts, sugar, and just a little of the rare cocoa. He shaped it into a loaf that could be sliced and served on bread and he named it ‘Giandujot’ after a famous local carnival character at the time. On May 14th, 1946 the Ferrero Company was officially founded.
With WWII the problem amplified, as sanctions followed the use by the Italian army of chemical weapons over the civilian populations. Cocoa was among the products that Italy could not import anymore, so chocolate surrogates (products in which chocolate was at least in part substituted by nuts) like gianduiotto or became the Italian staple.
After the war, Chocolate remained a valuable product that was hardly affordable by a majority of the population. Bread and chocolate was a favorite children’s snack, a much sought-after one, but also a quite messy one. You held the bread in one hand, and a chocolate square (often a gianduiotto or cremini) in the other, took a mouthful of bread and a nibble of chocolate, and ate them together. The most vicious among us ate all the bread first and held the chocolate in their hand to be able to eat it all at once. The chocolate melted and huge cocoa smudges ended up on our clothing.
Ferrero started thinking about a cheap way to give children bread and chocolate without inconveniencing the mothers. It had to be a spread so that it was convenient, would slip away from the bread, and the moms could reduce the stains on our clothing. Children had to love it, so make it super-greasy and extra sugary. And it had to be cheap, so sticking in hazelnuts instead of cocoa, nowadays hazelnuts are more costly than cocoa, so they reduced them.
In 2012, French senator Yves Daudigny proposed a tax increase on palm oil from €100 to €400 per ton. At 20 percent, palm oil is one of Nutella’s main ingredients, and the tax was dubbed “the Nutella tax” in the media.
On 14 May 2014, Poste Italiane issued a 50th anniversary Nutella commemorative stamp, the 70 Euro cent stamp was designed by Istituto Poligrafico Zecca dello Stato and features a jar of Nutella on a golden background. Ferrero held a Nutella Day on 17 and 18 May to celebrate the anniversary.
Inside the office, khaki-clad workers monitor more than a hundred robotic arms that go into craft sweets with stringent military precision. “We do everything with seriousness and extreme competence,” says Giovanni Ferrero, the firm’s 53-year-old chairman, in his first-ever sit-down with the American press.
That discipline has built an empire. Ferrero sold $12.5 billion worth of sweets last year, and its namesake owners are worth an estimated $31 billion altogether, $21 billion of which belongs to Giovanni, who’s the 47th-richest person in the world. Their success took generations. Founded in 1946 in war-ravaged Italy by Giovanni’s grandfather Pietro, the business expanded through decades of careful growth, with little debt and no acquisitions.
Giovanni Ferrero is the richest man in Italy and the secretive billionaire behind the Ferrero group. The Ferrero Group is the world’s second-largest chocolatier and the maker of Nutella Ferrero Rocher, and tic tacs as well.
The company, which is now led by CEO Giovanni Ferrero, is now the third-largest confectioner in the world. Giovanni Ferrero is worth an estimated $24.5 billion.
What began as a small pastry shop, and later a factory, became a global business under the leadership of Pietro’s son Michele Ferrero. It was Michele who relaunched his father’s recipe as Nutella in 1964. In 1997, Michele Ferrero turned the business over to his sons, Pietro and Giovanni. Michele died in 2015, leaving his wife, Maria Franca Fissolo, to become the richest person in Italy.
Today this big company continues to run successfully, aiming to reach new goals every day, ensuring that the company’s inspirations and ambitions will never let be down, Today, just as yesterday it is a structure based on solid family values. In just three generations, Pietro’s tiny shop has become a behemoth that sells goods in more than 160 countries, employs 40,000 people, and makes 365,000 tons of Nutella per year. Giovanni waves all this away: “Well, it’s a promising start.”