Hazelnut cream: find the difference!

Saying “no” to Nutella is not a meaningless task, as it’s  one of the best-known products on the market, and even appreciated by young and old. As with Coca-Cola, the recipe for this chocolate cream remains mysterious, but what is good is to consider this product no longer as the quintessence of cocoa but rather to analyze it in a more critical and certainly in-depth way.

You only have to read the list of ingredients to realize that we are faced with a qualitatively questionable preparation. If you compare Nutella’s raw materials with those of other spreads, in our case – Magnum Intense, Novi and Lindt – you notice that the ingredients are similar but change the quantities and type of fats. The most important are hazelnuts, cocoa and cocoa butter, about 90% of the costs of raw materials.

Hazelnuts and cocoa. Nutella contains 13% hazelnuts, Magnum intense reaches 20%, Lindt does not declare it, while Novi reaches 45% (!) or 3.5 times more than Nutella. This huge detachment is a very important substantial element in terms of quality, and it also emerges when tasting the product. The hazelnut content is important, because it is the most expensive ingredient that characterizes the cream.

Where’s the cocoa butter? Cocoa butter is the main ingredient of all chocolate products, very valuable and expensive. As you can see, Nutella uses palm oil instead of this. Ferrero’s ability is to make a mediocre quality oil such as palm pleasant on the palate through a refining process that allows you to select the noblest part. The operation is possible thanks to a fractionation plant that owns only seven companies in the world. This choice allows to drastically reduce costs, but penalizes nutritional quality being palm oils not recommended by nutrition experts. Lindt, on the other hand, uses vegetable fats (unspecified) and differs in that it is the only one that uses 10% milk chocolate. Novi stands out, on the other hand, to use only the precious cocoa butter. Magnum intense instead makes it a tablet, using both vegetable fats and cocoa butter.

The aroma. Nutella uses as an aroma only vanillin, an artificial aroma, widely used in the confectionery industry instead of natural vanilla that costs a little. Other brands use “aromas”, probably vanillin or vanilla, without other specifications.

Sensory evidence. To find out what is the best cream you have to buy them and spread them on a slice of bread evaluating the texture, fragrance, aroma and any defects. The typical scent of cocoa must be persistent, and sugar must not prevail over other flavors.

Conclusions. Creams that “imitate Nutella” have little chance of success, because no one can produce such an attractive cream at such an affordable price. It should not be forgotten that more than half of a jar of Nutella is made of sugar, 25% is palm oil and hazelnuts represent only 13%.

NUTELLA

To sum up from our analysis it must be said that hazelnut cream is a high-calorie product and that, therefore, it would be preferable to take in small quantities. For this food, as for all others, it is preferable to choose products whose ingredients are synonymous with quality and therefore are not harmful to health (no to vegetable oil of which the origin is not specified) and which preferably contain beneficial nutrients (as in this case monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids of hazelnuts).

From the comparison the 4 products analyzed are more or less similar in terms of caloric intake but from a qualitative point of view Crema Novi is significantly higher, both for its quantity in hazelnuts that is equal to 3 and a half times the amount contained in Nutella, and for the use of the precious cocoa butter instead of vegetable oil. Finally, Nutella wins the last position for the low number of hazelnuts, for the excessive content in oil and sugar, for the failure to specify the type of vegetable oil used.

Obviously, this article does not want to be for or against any type of product but simply to offer the consumer a view of this based on the reading of his label.

Source: Roberto La Pira, 2010, Tutti i segreti della Nutella, in “Il fatto quotidiano”.

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