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Nutella Was Caught Secretly Changing Its Recipe

Few condiments have a following like Nutella's: It's a food group unto itself, if not a lifestyle. When you have a following like that, people pay extremely close attention. Maybe mustard companies can make changes willy-nilly (a phrase mustard makers probably still use), but at the top tier of hazelnut spread, that's apparently not the case.

As reported in a recent Facebook post, a German watchdog group discovered by comparing nutrition labels that Nutella's recipe has undergone some unannounced changes. And the kind folks of Earth are not pleased. For starters, the product has 16% more powdered skim milk and is lighter in color. It's speculated that the milk is substituted "at the expense of cacao." The group notes, however, that Ferrero, Nutella's parent brand, is not legally obligated to announce a change like that.

In addition to the all important milk-to-chocolate ratio, sugar content is also up, according to the same report. Nutella was already over half sugar at 55.9% -- a fact we'd all do well to consider as we eat entire tubs in one sitting and tell ourselves it's healthy because it's nut-based or something -- but that's now gone up to 56.3%. Total fat is down from 31.8% to 30.9%, though, which is good news. 

These are differences of mere percentage points, but tell that to the hazelnut faithful.

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Ferrero said the following: "We have recently carried out a fine-tuning in line with the evolution of consumers’ tastes. The quality, safety, sourcing and all other characteristics of the Nutella ingredients remain the same. The ingredient list can always be found on the jar and on the Nutella website. From a nutritional point of view, all relevant aspects remain similar." 

It's also important to note that we only know for sure that this applies to Nutella overseas, which is different from US Nutella. We haven't been able to confirm whether a similar change was made here.

Update: The following statement was provided by a spokesperson for Ferrero.

“We produce Nutella with the same care all over the world. And we make sure our consumers are fully satisfied with the unique Nutella experience through frequent and robust taste tests.

"The recent fine-tuning we performed is only a minor change. Concretely in the US, the content of hazelnuts, cocoa, sugar and palm oil remains unchanged. The fine-tuning consists of substituting whey powder with an equivalent quantity (2.1g/100g total product) of milk powder (from 6.6% to 8.7% of total product). This enables us to improve the overall quality of the milk content and to ensure a better consistency of our unique taste over time.

"That’s all. Our recipe contains 7 simple ingredients, with no colors or preservatives. The nutritional values remain practically unchanged."

H/t Grub Street

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James Chrisman is a News Writer at Thrillist who thinks we all have secrets sometimes. Send news tips to news@thrillist.com and follow him on Twitter @james_chrisman2.