Nutella has more competition, now that Rossana spread makes its way into this jar war
Nutella, the leader in chocolate spread was challenged two years ago when Barilla’s similar chocolate spread, called Pan di Stelle and made from the original chocolate cookie snack, joined what was pinned as the “jar war”: a competition in Italy of leading companies producing particular sweet spreads. But who would think of competing against Nutella, the mother of all spreads? And yet they are facing an attack from “…the pasta section,” according to Reuters. And now it seems that the candy aisle has joined in: the long known candy company, Le Bonelle Gelees, has now joined the war with its most popular candy, Rossana, in a spreadable cream form.
In 1946, the brothers who created Nutella, Pietro and Giovanni Ferrero, had come up with the spread’s recipe to avoid using too much chocolate, which was more expensive than hazelnuts, and instead they focused on increasing the amount of nuts. After only 9 months, Ferrero was selling over 10 tonnes of Nutella. The successful spread that we know today became a brand in 1964. The company now sells over 365,000 tonnes of Nutella worldwide annually and the biggest buyers are Germans, French, Italians and Americans.
Ferrero’s spread accounts for 75 percent of the company’s profits, as they have hazelnut plantations providing a year-round supply of primary ingredients.
Not only is the spread loved, but so is the company. In over 70 years there has not been a single day of industrial inaction, as stated by Francesco Paolo Fulci, a former ambassador and President of Ferrero Foundation. Citizens in the town where the headquarters are located, can connect to the power station from their homes an extremely competitive rate compared to other power sources. People admire the company so much that at the funeral of one of the Ferrero brothers, Pietro Ferrero, in 2011, 30,000 people attended the funeral.
Even after the criticism of the company using palm oil as an ingredient, Ferrero established a website called “Let’s discuss about Quality.” This website describes where the company gets their palm oil, how their treatment of the beans makes it healthier for us, and that it is sustainable as they take part in environmental charities which assure that their work will not damage forests.
Rossana was created in 1973 in Italy from an idea of Franco Alesano, and it called Rossana in honor of Cyrano de Bergerac’s Roxanne and the company now leads the market as the third largest seller of candy. This company has maintained success, despite other similar chocolate and candy companies experiencing sales declines. After Rossana became a part of Nestlè-Perugina for 30 years, it has since returned to the hands of the an Italian company called Fida, from Piedmont. This new company decided to conquer the market, considering its profitable income, with a profit of 37 milion euros in 2017, while other companies declared bankrupcy. For example, the chocolate company Pernigotti declared that, by the end of 2018, they would close their manufacturing company due to a 13 million euro loss. They consequently reached a compromise by moving elsewhere with lower costs in a shared manufacturing facility. Other Italian companies like Peyrano may not be closing but they are recording increased losses, with the latest report of a debt of 5 million euros.
So all these sweets are connected to Italy and leave lasting historical impacts. Who hasn’t eaten Nutella as a child — and indeed, later on as an adult? In my case, my grandma would give me Rossana candy to bring to school with me. Pan di Stella came out later on in my life, but Barilla and Mulino Bianco have made history as well (Mulino Bianco is a brand created by Barilla to distinguish between the company’s baked goods from their pasta).
I hilariously (for me at least) seem to think of this jar war as a soap opera. A single person (the customer) who first fell in love at 16 years old (Nutella) and thinks they will never forget them, left them as they thought they had fallen in love with someone else (Pan di Stelle) — but who forgets their first love, right? And then here comes the newest entry (Rossana) as the teenage love fades away into a more mature relationship.
Who will the customer choose? In a non-soap opera scenario in which these characters re-take their food form, you could eat all three. But is this jar war about loyalty? After all, Nutella and Ferrero are traditions, rich in history. I also believe that traditions should be broken. Especially considering that Pan di Stella is healthier than Nutella, despite how unhealthy all of them are, because Nutella’s primary ingredient is sugar, in contrast to chocolate as the primary ingredient in Pan di Stella, as one would expect.
But above all, history has also taught us that the market takes unforeseeable turns, as did Rossana’s company. Therefore, one must wait and see who the customer will choose next.