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Battle of the biscuit giants: Barilla takes on Nutella with new ‘ethical’ chocolate spread

Italian biscuit-maker Barilla is taking on the might of Ferraro’s Nutella with its own ‘healthier’ and more 'ethical’ chocolate and hazelnut spread. It's a daunting challenge in Italy where Nutella has 88 percent of the market.

Battle of the biscuit giants: Barilla takes on Nutella with new 'ethical' chocolate spread
Photo: DepositPhotos

The new Pan di Stelle chocolate and hazelnut spread is named after Barilla's highly popular chocolate biscuits, which are scattered with tiny white stars.

The new product will be launched in January, crucially without palm oil as an ingredient, the company said in a press release.

Nutella is regularly attacked for its use of potentially environmentally destructive palm oil, although environment groups including the WWF and Greenpeace have said Ferrero's supply chain is sustainable.

Nevertheless, right now Nutella has almost total control of the Italian market and dominates 54 percent of the world market.

Its closest international rival is Cokokrem made by Turkey's Yildiz Holding with a puny two percent market share.

Analysts note that Barilla is touting its spread's use of locally sourced nuts, lower sugar content and cacao whose purchase supports development projects in Ivory Coast.

The company says its spread will contain 100% Italian hazelnuts, and cocoa purchased in line with the responsibility initiatives implemented by the Cocoa Horizons Foundation.

READ ALSO: Nutella makers admit changing formula of famous spread

Reuters reported last month that Barilla wants to hit back at domestic rival Ferrero, which makes Nutella and Ferrero Rocher pralines, irked by the confectioner's expanding biscuit range, including Nutella biscuits launched in early 2018.

“Nutella's market share (in Italy) has been decreasing over the last five years, as consumers gain interest in niche brands with more favourable ingredients and a relatable brand image that resonates with consumer values,” said Euromonitor food consultant Emil Fazira.

“Ethical living and healthy living are two megatrends that are increasingly shaping consumer choices,” Fazira told AFP.

But Nutella-loving consumers will want to know: does the Pan di Stelle spread taste as good?

We’ll have to wait until January to find out, though the company says the addition of its biscuit crumbs means the chocolate spread will have a ‘special texture’.

READ ALSO: Italy is looking for 60 Nutella tasters

LA BELLA VITA

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you’ll find in Italy

From Italian podcasts to surprising delicacies and our favourite overlooked travel destinations, new weekly newsletter La Bella Vita offers you an essential starting point for eating, talking, drinking and living like an Italian.

La Bella Vita: The best Italian-language podcasts, and unexpected foods you'll find in Italy

La Bella Vita is our regular look at the real culture of Italy – from language to cuisine, manners to art. This new newsletter will be published weekly and you can receive it directly to your inbox, by going to newsletter preferences in ‘My Account’ or follow the instructions in the newsletter box below.

A cornerstone of Italian culture, the tabaccheria is used for much more than just buying cigarettes. In fact, these little shops are pretty central to everyday life and anyone who moves to or just spends time in Italy will need to become as familiar with them as they are with the local coffee bar.

From paying bills to purchasing bus tickets, here are just some of the services you should know about and a few tips for your first visit.

Why the tabaccheria is essential to life in Italy – even if you don’t smoke

For Italian language learners: listening to podcasts is a great way to immerse yourself in a new language. Luckily there’s a vast range of audio shows for people wanting to learn Italian, whether you’re studying at an advanced level or learning from scratch. Here we’ve selected a few of our favourites, plus readers’ suggestions:

Some of the best podcasts for learners of Italian

Italy is known worldwide for pizza and gelato, but Italian cuisine is incredibly diverse and visitors are often surprised by some of the local delicacies on offer. I know rustic Tuscan cuisine didn’t exactly match my expectations when I first arrived in Italy. I quickly learned to love it – but my mother-in-law’s homemade chocolate cake made with pig’s blood (sanguinaccio is a delicacy in Puglia…) was a step too far!

So, from fried brains and tripe to suggestive desserts that you definitely wouldn’t expect the local priest to approve of, here’s a look at some more of the traditional foods loved by Italians – but not always by foreigners.

From fried brains to ‘sexy’ cakes: The Italian foods you might not expect in Italy

Visitors can find more than they bargained for at a traditional Italian food market. (Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP)

As regular visitors know, there’s much more to Italy than just the glamour of Rome, Venice or Florence, but some destinations suffer – we think unfairly – from negative reputations. From Caserta to Reggio Calabria and beyond, here are some of the overlooked Italian towns that are home to incredible sights that everyone should see at least once.

Nine overlooked Italian towns you should visit

If you’re planning a visit to Italy (or to another part of Europe from Italy) this year but want to cut down your carbon footprint, train travel is a great option and there are more routes than ever connecting Italy’s major cities to other parts of the continent.

Here are some of the main direct international train services you can use for travel between Italy and other European countries this year.

The train routes connecting Italy to the rest of Europe in 2023

Remember if you’d like to have this weekly newsletter sent straight to your inbox you can sign up for it via Newsletter preferences in “My Account”.

Is there an aspect of the Italian way of life you’d like to see us write more about on The Local? Please email me at [email protected]

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