Ferrero dispels fears of Nutella shortage

The president of the Italian food giant Ferrero has denied that there is a Nutella shortage on the way after speculation that a poor hazelnut harvest could hit the popular chocolate spread.

Ferrero dispels fears of Nutella shortage
The imminent Nutella shortage was described as a "false problem" by Ferrero's president. Hazelnut spread photo: Shutterstock

Reports of a Nutella shortage or price hike last week follow a poor harvest in Turkey, which produces 70 percent of the world’s hazelnut supply.

Trade estimates said the shortage amounted to 260,000 tonnes of the nut, while French daily Le Parisien said hazelnut prices had jumped from €5,000 to €8,5000.

READ MORE: Consumers may have to shell out more for Nutella

But Francesco Paolo Fulci, the president of Ferrero, the maker of the famous chocolate spread, dispelled fears of an imminent Nutella shortage.

“It’s a false problem,”  he was quoted in AGI as saying.

“We have recurrent crises of this type more or less every ten years and in the past they haven’t been talked about. I ask if some people are looking to raise prices. I hope that this isn’t the case,” he said.

There is no need to stockpile jars of Nutella, as Fulci assured reporters “we will continue to offer the quantity of Nutella requested by consumers.”

To fit 50 hazelnuts into each 13oz (370g) jar of Nutella, Ferrero buys up around 25 percent of the world’s annual production.

To secure its position in the nut market, Ferrero last month bought up Turkey’s Oltan Group, described by the company as “the worldwide leading operator” in hazelnuts.  

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Turkey navy forces back Italian drillship: Cyprus

Five Turkish warships threatened to engage an Italian drillship Friday and forced it to turn back after it tried to break a two-week blockade off Cyprus, Cypriot officials said.

Turkey navy forces back Italian drillship: Cyprus
Eni chief Claudio Descalzi. File photo: AFP

The drillship from Italy's energy giant Eni has been halted in the island's politically sensitive waters since February 9th when Turkish warships stopped it from heading to explore in a contentious area, claiming they were conducting manoeuvres.

Government spokesman Victoras Papadopoulos told the Cyprus News Agency that as the rig tried to make progress again Friday “it was blocked by five Turkish warships, and after threats to use force and engage with the drillship…it was forced to turn back”.

Eni chief Claudio Descalzi played down the two-week standoff, telling journalists in Italy that his company would not abandon its exploration off Cyprus but await a diplomatic solution to start operations.

“We are used to the possibility of disputes. We didn't leave Libya or other countries where there had been complex situations,” he said.

“This is the last of my worries. We are completely calm,” said the Eni chief executive.

“It is very probable that in the next few days we will have to move” the ship to another country as originally planned, Descalzi said.

“And then we will return (to Cyprus) to await a solution from international diplomacy.”

However, Cypriot Energy Minister George Lakkotrypis said that diplomatic efforts, notably by the European Union, had so far failed to break the standoff.

“We left room for diplomacy, hoping that a solution could be found… Today we made one last effort… but that was not possible because of Turkey's stance,” he told the private television station Sigma.

The drillship has now headed to the Cypriot port of Limassol and will likely spend several days there before sailing to fulfil contractual obligations in Morocco, Lakkotrypis told the Cyprus News Agency.

On Wednesday, Cyprus President Nicos Anastasiades, the Greek Cypriot leader, said Nicosia would continue its energy exploration regardless of Turkish threats.

But Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned foreign energy companies not to “overstep the mark” in disputed waters off the coast of the divided island.

Ankara has been stringent in defending the claims of Turkish Cypriots for a share of energy resources, despite Greek Cypriot assurances that they would benefit both communities.

The standoff over energy resources risks further complicating stalled efforts to reunify Cyprus following the collapse of UN-brokered talks last year.

READ ALSO: Italy's Eni in Cyprus gas deal