Time to Panic About Hazelnuts

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There are more than 50 hazelnuts per 13-ounce jar of Nutella, and with 180 million kilograms of the chocolatey spread produced each year, that adds up to an insane number of hazelnuts. Right now, many confectioners are scrambling to secure hazelnuts: Hail storms and frost in March damaged the crop in Turkey, the world’s main growing area, causing prices to climb by as much as 60 percent this year.

Not to worry, via my old favorite Venessa Wong at Businessweek, Nutella owns 25% of the world’s supply of hazelnuts and has acquired Oltan Group, the leading supplier of hazelnuts. Nutella will be fine. They account for 70% of all U.S. sales of chocolate spreads and are, somehow, a 2.5 BILLION dollar company. That’s a lot of people studying abroad and then coming home feeling really cultured because they put Nutella on their toast now. (BEEN THERE.) But it’s the other guys, the little confectioners, that have to worry.

Personally? I throw away hazelnuts, even when hungry. Give me a cashew, a pecan, a pistachio any day before this nut. I will even take the lowly peanut, the most basic of legumes, before I even LOOK at a hazelnut.

But put that shit in ice cream and I’m all over it. I cannot believe such an inferior nut lends itself so beautifully to chocolate and ice cream. This is where the hailstorms in Turkey concern me. Because Nutella is nice but it is not as nice as ice cream.

Ruling: I will allow Ferrero to hoard just enough hazelnuts so that they are phased out of all mixed nut packages as a rule, but not to much that I can’t eat nocciola gelato. Thank you for your time.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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