Jars of Italy's favourite hazelnut spread have graced kitchen tables for over half a century. However, with growing concern over weight and rising levels of obesity, the Europe Union (EU) has decided to revamp food labelling laws in an effort to promote a better diet.
The EU recently voted in favour of a draft proposal that would toughen nutritional information requirements on food labels, sparking heated debate in the Italian press and among food producers, who argue that the measures could bring an end to Italy's sweet pre-packaged foods, including Nutella. The proposed rules require that all processed foods packaging clearly list all fat, salt and sugar contents, mostly on the front. Nutella supporters argue the labels could shy away consumers.
Although the legislation will likely not pass until 2012, pro-Nutella support is mounting. An Italian government official recently launched a ‘Hands off Nutella' committee, supported by the governor of Piedmont, home of Ferrero food manufacturer, the maker of Nutella. Scores of profiles on Facebook have also formed to protect the sweet hazelnut spread.
The earliest version of Nutella dates back to April 20, 1964 in Ferrero di Alba (CN). Pietro Ferrero had the idea of making an affordable and sweet alternative for breakfast for farmers. Nutella was born as a poor man's food, yet it soon captured the palate of Italians across the country, becoming a cultural and culinary icon.