Is Nutella A Spread Or A Topping? The FDA Seeks To Find The Answer

Three Nutella Jars Sit On A Shelf In California

Is Nutella a spread or a dessert topping? The Food and Drug administration is on a mission to find the answer. The FDA is also asking for help and will accept public input on this question until January 3, 2017.

Nutella is made by Ferrero, an Italian company. As reported by Anna Edney on Bloomberg News, it is an item that the FDA has classified under the “other dessert toppings” umbrella for more than two decades.

“The FDA is responsible for establishing ‘reference amounts customarily consumed,’ or RACC, for 139 food-product categories, including cookies, egg rolls, coffee, dry pasta, butter, canned fruits and tofu. The RACC designation helps determine a serving size. In 1993, the FDA ruled that Nutella fell into the product category called “other dessert toppings.”

Ferrero has recently been pushing for Nutella to be reclassified. Ferrero, who first filed a petition to reduce Nutella’s serving size down from two tablespoons to one in 2014, claims that it should be considered in the same class as jam, jelly, honey, and other comparable breakfast spreads.

While Nutella may be classified as a dessert topping at the moment, more folks have apparently been using it on breakfast items in recent years. Many now enjoy spreading it on their toast, waffles, pancakes, or bagels before starting their day.

As also reported in the Bloomberg News article, the FDA has announced plans to seek more information on Nutella’s primary uses and the size of the portions that are actually being eaten.

“That led the agency on Tuesday to seek information on flavored nut-butter spreads, their intended use and typical consumption amounts, according to a document posted online.”

To further illustrate the significance of whether Nutella is a spread or a dessert topping, Karla Pequenino at CNN points out that Nutella’s current serving size of two tablespoons equates to 200 calories. Ferrero’s argument seems to be that if customers see a jar of Nutella with fewer calories, they may be more inclined to make a purchase of the chocolate-hazelnut dessert topping (or spread).

“The current serving size is two tablespoons, or 37 grams, equaling 200 calories. Nutella maker Ferrero thinks a smaller serving size — with fewer calories — might make people more likely to grab a jar from supermarket shelves.”

Per Ferrero’s petition, in 2012, 74 percent of Nutella was used on bread, and only a mere 2 percent of it was used on ice cream. Crackers and fruit accounted for 8 and 5 percent, respectively. The remaining 11 percent fell into the “all others” category.

Ferrero juxtaposes this information against data from 1991, when it is shown that just eight percent of Nutella was used on bread and 27 percent was used on ice cream. Back then, crackers and fruit accounted for 14 and 19 percent of Nutella usage, respectively.

Obviously, the way in which Nutella is being used on food is clearly something that appears to have changed over the years. It can also be used to make cupcakes, and earlier in 2016, the Inquisitr also reported on Krispy Kreme offering Nutella-filled donuts.

Not everyone is convinced that reclassifying Nutella would be a great idea, however. BBC News reports that most jams contain approximately 50 calories per tablespoon, meaning that Nutella would still have twice the regular amount, should it indeed be reclassified.

As Ferrero points out in the petition, Nutella is made primarily from sugar, palm oil, roasted hazelnuts, cocoa, and skim milk. As can also be read in the company’s petition, it slowly gained popularity across European countries after World War II, and it made its way to America in the 1980s, where it was essentially an instant success. It has a long history of being enjoyed as a tasty treat among many.

So what do you think? Is Nutella a spread or a dessert topping? If you are a Nutella consumer, let your voice be heard!

[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]