Consumers may have to shell out more for Nutella

Legions of Nutella fanatics may find themselves having to pay a bit more to get their fix of the Italian chocolate spread in future after a disastrous spell of weather prompted a shortage of the product's key ingredient.

Consumers may have to shell out more for Nutella
Nutella lovers may take a hit in the pocketbook due to a shortage. Nutella photo: Shutterstock

There’s no warnings of a Nutella shortage just yet, but a poor hazelnut harvest has prompted speculation the beloved chocolate spread could be a bit more dear this year, French daily Le Parisien reported on Tuesday.

Nasty weather has made a serious dent in the hazelnut crop in Turkey, which produces some 70 percent of the world’s supply of the nut.

Not surprisingly, given its popularity, about 25 percent of Earth’s annual production of hazelnuts goes to Nutella's maker, the Italian company Ferrero. It churns out 365,000 tonnes of the spread each year.

Much of the Nutella production doesn't have to go far to get eaten. Europeans love it, with the French second only to the Germans as the world's top consumers of the paste.

Famously secretive Ferrero has reportedly not commented for the moment on whether the price will go up in future, but thankfully for Nutella lovers there's no sign of a spike just yet.

French supermarket chain Carrefour was selling 440 gram jars of Nutella for €2.85 on Tuesday, a price that's been stable for some time.

It’s not clear yet how badly the Turkish crop has been damaged, though traders have estimated there could be a shortage of up to 260,000 tonnes of hazelnuts in 2014.

In the past six months the wholesale price of the nut has exploded, with the cost jumping from €5,000 a tonne to €8,500, Le Parisien reported.

This of course isn’t the first time hazelnuts have fallen victim to the vagaries of the weather. Heavy frost in 2003 and 2004 ravaged the Turkish nut crop and sent wholesale prices spiralling.

But there was no great Nutella shortage and while prices went up, the increase was reportedly modest.

Nut troubles are just one of the threats facing Nutella, however. A world chocolate shortage is on the horizon because cocoa bean plantations are being turned into more profitable rubber tree farms. Some estimates have predicted a shortage by 2020.

In France, politicians have already taken a pop at the spread, by trying and failing to slap a heavy tax on one of Nutella’s other key ingredients: palm oil. It was a move to fight obesity, but died in the French legislature amid criticism from food makers. 

This article appeared on The Local France

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Migrant row between France and Italy caps a history of prickly relations

A war of words between France and Italy over migrants has set the scene for a testy European summit this week after the latest spat between neighbours who have had complicated relations for centuries.

Migrant row between France and Italy caps a history of prickly relations
French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. Photo: AFP
Emmanuel Macron's rocky relationship with Italy's ruling populists worsened this weekend when far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini blasted the French president's “arrogant” stance on immigration.
Salvini further accused Macron of hypocrisy for criticising his hardline approach while France continues to “push back women, children and men” across the border back into Italy.
Macron, who argues that France has taken in more asylum seekers than Italy this year as the massive influx across the Mediterranean has slowed, hit back: “We won't take lessons from anyone.” 
The heated exchange overshadowed a weekend meeting in Brussels that was supposed to find better ways to handle the hundreds of thousands arriving from Africa, the Middle East and Asia since 2015. European leaders are set to meet on Thursday and Friday in Brussels to discuss the issue as well as eurozone reforms.
'Irresponsible': France blasts Italy but defends not taking in stranded migrant ship
Photo: AFP
Macron was perhaps destined to get on badly with Salvini after coming to power in an election that pitched his pro-EU centrism against the far-right populism of Marine Le Pen.
He won no friends in Rome last week by likening anti-migrant sentiment to “leprosy”, and compounded the row by suggesting that with arrival numbers down, Italy did not have a migrant crisis but a political one. He had already attracted Italy's ire by criticising its refusal to take in 630 migrants onboard the Aquarius rescue ship, and a Franco-Spanish proposal for “closed” migrant camps in arrival countries went down similarly badly.
France's ambassador to Rome was summoned this month over the row, and while Macron is heading to the Vatican Tuesday to meet Pope Francis, he is not stopping in Rome to meet Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.
“The political leaders of Italy and France have not treated each other this badly since they were at war,” Aldo Cazzullo observed in the Corriere della Sera newspaper.
From Napoleon to Libya
Analysts say the chill reflects not just a clash of political worldviews but a long history of animosity.
The 20th century saw times of both bitter enmity during World War II and close cooperation as the neighbours worked together to build the EU afterwards.
Gilles Bertrand, co-author of a history of Franco-Italian relations since 1660, sees traces of centuries-old invasions by European powers, including France under Napoleon Bonaparte, in contemporary suspicions.
“Even though they are extremely close culturally, with ties going back to the Middle Ages — commercial, intellectual, artistic — it goes down badly when France acts superior,” said Bertrand, a professor of modern history at the University of Grenoble Alpes.
'I never meant to offend you': Macron tries to smooth over migrant row with Italy
Photo: AFP
More recently, resentment brimmed over the 2011 NATO intervention in Libya — a former Italian colony — which was heavily backed by France. 
“The Italians are hugely sensitive when it comes to Libya,” said Jean-Pierre Darnis, a lecturer at the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis who specialises in Franco-Italian relations. “Their reading of it is that in 2011 France intervened in Libya to dislodge them” in their former sphere of influence, he told AFP.
Italy also views Libya's current lawlessness — a driving force in the migrant exodus from the North African country — as the direct result of the intervention, an additional source of anger, he said.
The bombing campaign was before Macron's time, but soon after his arrival in power last year he aggravated tensions over Libya again by organising a spontaneous peace conference independently of Italy.
Photo: AFP
'Economic colonialism'
The last few years have also seen growing tensions between the neighbours over investment projects.
French companies invested heavily in Italy in the 1990s and 2000s, including luxury group LVMH's acquisition of the Fendi label in 2001 and Bulgari a decade later.
Yet the value of French takeovers since 2000 has been more than five times higher of the value of Italian takeovers in France, according to financial analysts Dealogic — leading to regular accusations of “economic colonialism”.
On this front, again, Macron's presidency got off to a bad start — he temporarily nationalised the STX shipyard instead of giving a majority stake to Italy's Fincantieri, reneging on an agreement between Rome and the previous French government.
A face-saving deal was eventually worked out to hand the Italian shipbuilder 50 percent of STX, “but it did a huge amount of damage,” said Darnis.
“It wiped out pretty much all of Macron's political capital in Italy,” he added.
By AFP's Katy Lee and Marie Wolfrom