French told stop eating Nutella to save planet

UPDATED: French people need to stop scoffing Nutella for the sake of the planet, the government's ecology minister has said, even though she admitted that it does indeed taste good.

French told stop eating Nutella to save planet
Nutella is one of the most popular spreads in France. Photo: Janine/Flickr

Imagine telling the English to lay off marmalade, the Americans to throw away their peanut butter, and the Aussies that vegemite should be banned.

France's Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal did something similar by urging the French stop eating the country's favourite spread Nutella.

As a guest on the popular television programme Le Petit Journal on Monday night, Royal was explaining how to be vigilant about the environment in reference to the climate summit in Paris this December. 

And one of these measures, she told the host, was to cut Nutella from the national diet due to its palm oil content – a controversial ingredient of the popular Italian spread.

“We have to replant masses of trees because there's been a massive deforestation, which also leads to climate change,” she said. 

(Ecology Minster Ségolène Royal. Photo: AFP)

“For example, we have to stop eating Nutella because of its palm oil, which is seeing trees getting replaced and causing considerable damage.”

When the host interjected to say “but it tastes good”, Royal was unrepentant and said the French would have to find something else.
Her Italian counterpart Gian Luca Galletti tweeted on Tuesday night that Royal should “leave italian products alone”, adding that it would be “bread and Nutella for dinner tonight”.
The comments needled Ferrero, the giant Italian chocolate group that makes Nutella.
Without referring to Royal directly, the company issued a statement on Tuesday saying it was aware of the environmental stakes and had made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible manner.
Ferrero gets nearly 80 percent of its palm oil from Malaysia. The rest of its supply comes from Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Brazil.
Royal will have her work cut out convincing her compatriots to stop spreading Nutella on their bread.
Italian company Ferrero churns out 365,000 tonnes of the spread each year, but a lot of it doesn't have to travel far before it's eaten. 

Europeans love it, with the French second only to the Germans as the world's top consumers of the paste. 

The French have long had a love affair with the chocolate spread and it is the sweet and some say sickly breakfast of choice for many French school children. Around 100 million pots are devoured each year in France alone.

Indeed it's so popular that some French parents even tried to name their children Nutella, before being barred by a court.

The spread has proved controversial before, after France moved to introduce a so-called Nutella tax back in 2012, targeting any foods made with palm and other vegetable oils. The proposal was overturned soon after.

The Local has contacted Ferrero for a comment. 

SEE ALSO – Revealed: The world's favourite French foods

Revealed: The world's favourite French foods


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No health risks behind halt on Nutella production, says France

French authorities said Friday that there appeared to be no health risks behind the decision to halt production of Nutella at a plant in Normandy, the world's largest factory making the prized chocolate-and-hazelnut spread.

No health risks behind halt on Nutella production, says France
Photo: AFP
Nutella's Italian owner Ferrero, whose products also include Ferrero Rocher chocolates, on Wednesday said it had suspended production at the site as a precautionary measure.
“As far as I am aware at the moment, there is no health problem,” French Agriculture Minister Didier Guillaume told CNews. “From what I know, this is an economic problem.”
The Villers-Ecalles site in Normandy produces around 600,000 jars a day, or about a quarter of all the Nutella made worldwide.
Photo: AFP
Ferrero's France affiliate said it had discovered a quality defect in one of the ingredients used for making Nutella as well as Kinder Bueno candy bars.
The manufacturer said the defect was not related to its standards of quality.
“For now, we can say no products currently on the market are impacted by the situation and that the supply to our customers continues without interruption,” the company said.
The Ferrero group, with 30,000 employees and 22 production sites around the globe, also makes Kinder surprise eggs and chocolate bars as well as Tic Tac mints.