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Feb 26, 2006 08:46 AM

Heads up about Nutella- European vs. US version

  • c

I recently noticed that I could pick up a glass jar of imported Nutella at a local specialty store, but it was $8.99, almost 3 times the price of the US-produced version in the plastic jar that's commonly available.

The difference between the two shows in the ingredients: the US product lists partially hydrogenated peanut oil (a source of trans fats) and the European version doesn't. So if that sort of thing matters to you, now you know.

I haven't done a head to head taste test but the European version sure is good. yummmm.

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  1. A ha! You are correct. Thanks for the head's up.

    10 Replies
    1. re: dkstar1

      I just checked our Nutella, and they list partially-hydrogenated peanut oil....but in nutrition facts they list Trans Fat 0g. Is that possible? I'm going to call their customer service # on Monday (it is closed today).

      FYI - Buon Italia in Chelsea Market sells 26.5 oz. (750g)for $6.50 all of the time. Not sure what size container you are talking about at Duane Reade.

      1. re: Duncanhound

        Yes it is possible to have partially-hydrogenated peanut oil and no trans fats.

        Everything is based on serving size and there is an established "buffer" for most foods. I do not know the specifics but if the serving has lets say less than 3 grams of trans fats acids the company can claim their product to be a 0 trans fat product.

        1. re: ChrisZ

          I think it's less than .5 grams of trans-fat per serving, not 3g.

          1. re: Clare

            Like I said I do not know. I was sighting an example not a statement of fact.

            5 - 1 gram sounds about right.

            1. re: Chris

              what do you do with this stuff???

              1. re: teddy

                There's lot you can do with it. We like to smear it on apples, pears or bananas.

                1. re: teddy

                  Makes a much better S'more

                  1. re: teddy

                    Fruit, sandwiches, body parts, warm it slightly and pipe it into profiteroles or other pastry.
                    I like it in sandwiches with strawberry preserves. Num. Toast the bread (wholegrain and wheaty) apply the preserves cold, with the nutella slightly warm.
                    Smush together, (don't trim crust, it's the best part)

              2. re: ChrisZ

                I emailed Kraft Canada about a similar issue - trans fat free peanut butter that lists "partially hydrogenated vegetable oil" in it's ingredients and this was their response:

                0 grams of trans fat as defined by Health Canada's new Nutrition Labelling regulations: Where a product contains less than 0.2 grams of trans fat per serving, contains 2.0 grams or less of trans fat and saturated fat combined, and derives 15% or less of energy from trans fat and saturated fat combined, Health Canada requires that the content be rounded down and listed in the package's Nutrition Facts box as "0" grams of trans fat. When a label shows 0 grams trans fat per serving and lists "partially hydrogenated" or "hydrogenated" vegetable oil (such as soybean or cottonseed, among others) in the ingredients, the product may contain trans fat-up to 0.144 grams per serving. Some non-hydrogenated oils and some meat and dairy products also contain trans fat.

                Personally trans is trans and we've switched to organic peanut butter... but that's a bit OT. I wonder if the consistency/spreadability of the European Nutella is different than the American version? Or, does anyone know whether European manufacturers are required to label for trans?

            2. re: dkstar1

              Our Feds are so much more lax than the Euros, probably because of food industry lobbying, so it's no surprise that we have the bad stuff (no matter how little) and they don't.

              As for what to do with it, here's a dream combo. Nutella on a thinpancake or crepe is just divine. Spread it thin, let it melt, fold over. Voila! And tonight is Shrove (Pancake) Tuesday. Perfect.


            3. After indulging in euro-nutella for a year, coming back to the states and buying the american stuff is just ick. Not ONLY does it have partially hydrogenated oil in it, because of the partially hydrogenated oil, it's really THICK! The european stuff is comparable to natural peanutbutter, where as the american kind resembles Jif or Skippy!! (surprise, surprise)

              1. Not to talk up the trader Joes thing, but they do make a really tasty chocolate hazelnut spread without the transfats that is less sweet and more natural tasting than nutella (at least to my taste buds). Texture is pretty thick.

                3 Replies
                1. re: newmark

                  I have to thank newmark for your rec on Trader Joe's cocoa-hazelnut is delicious! I put it on my toast every morning. I'd rather eat that than the US Nutella with the partially hydrogenated oil.

                  1. re: honu

                    Here's a link from this weeks S.F. Chronicle Food Section...reviewing various Nutella like spreads, including T.J.'s


                  2. re: newmark

                    Had a sandwich with the TJ brand spread and the raw almond butter on multigrain and nut bread that was toasted. That was an unexpected zinger of a treat! The only problem now is the TJs around LA don't seem to carry it anymore... back to Nutella.

                  3. It's odd that the Chron doesn't seem to have noticed that there are different Nutellas? At that price point, it's hard to know which they tried.

                    But anyway, what evidence do we have that the catch-all "vegetable oil" (which probably means any of a long list of EU approved oils) can't include partially hydrogenated oils? It may not, but they're very common in mass-market European snack/junk foods, and the US is actually ahead of most of Europe in trans-fat labelling requirements. I do think they generally taste better, but if you read labels on imports, you will quickly see that Euro junk/snack foods are no healthier than ours.

                    As for the US-made stuff, they're either committing bald-faced fraud, which seems unlikely, or their food scientists know more than we do, b/c an individual serving has less than the minimum threshold of trans-fats to require labelling. I'm not sure how they've pulled this off, but I've yet to see a jar of the Italian import with any nutrition label at all..

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: MikeG

                      I live in Europe and my nutella jar has the ingredients and nutritional info listed. I think you can be sure that there is no peanut oil in any European processed food, since this is not a crop that is really grown or consumed here--so the bi-products don't get unloaded into the food supply. Same goes for corn oil and corn syrup. I think that vegetable oil here most likely means sunflower.

                      1. re: MikeG

                        Partially-hydrogenated vegetable oil is always listed as such. "Vegetable oil" = not partially-hydrogenated.

                        Trans-fat Nutella can't be sold in some (any?) EU countries.

                      2. A similar product we like in my house is Peanut Butter & Co's chocolate peanut butter. No transfats. I buy it at Whole Foods and have seen it at other supermarkets in my area (NYC suburbs). It's peanut, not hazelnut, but it sure is good.

                        Actually, my 5 year old now won't eat any other peanut butter. With marshmallow fluff on toast, it's a smores fluffernutter.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: marcia2

                          the Peanut Butter & Co.'s Chocolate Peanut Butter actually tastes a LOT more like chocolate than peanut butter to me. there are small crunchy peanut bits, so it's kind of like Nutella with crunch... I know it's not hazelnut, but it's pretty close.

                          1. re: marcia2

                            At Peanut Butter and Co. (the restaurant) they make a black forest sandwich with the stuff: chocolate peanut butter, cherry jam, and shredded sweetened coconut.

                            1. re: marcia2

                              I'll take a peanut over a hazlenut everyday of the week. Must be my jingoist in me.