Ferrero to Finally Launch Vegan Nutella in Europe This Autumn

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As the famed hazelnut spread turns 60, confectionery giant Ferrero will introduce a vegan version of Nutella in Europe later this year.

In the TV show How I Met Your Mother, there’s an episode where all the main characters contend with the essence of being a New Yorker. The consensus? Steal a cab from someone who needs it more. Cry on the subway and not care what anybody else thinks. Kill a cockroach with your bare hands.

This is what makes you a New Yorker, according to the characters in the show.

If you live in New York, you could argue all day about these stipulations – just as you could if you’re vegan. What makes you a true vegan? I don’t really know, but there is one thing I feel is almost a rite of passage if you follow that lifestyle.

At some point, I’d wager most vegans have attempted to make their own version of Nutella at home. You know the drill: you make hazelnut butter, add some kind of sweetener, some kind of cocoa powder or chocolate, maybe a little vanilla, and voila! There are countless recipes online and on cookbook pages that tell you how to make a copycat Nutella, just using your kitchen.

Forgive the garrulous introduction, but it’s hard to understate how big a deal it is that Ferrero – the world’s second-largest confectionery company – is at long last catering to vegans with its flagship product. This autumn, the Italian brand will unveil a plant-based Nutella in Europe, marking the spread’s 60th anniversary with a highly sought-after version.

Keeping up with the times

is nutella vegan
Courtesy: Giorgio Santambrogio/LinkedIn

The announcement came at Nielsen IQ’s annual Linkontro event in Sardinia, which convened over 270 FMCG brands. The event saw Ferrero present the gianduja spread, titled Nutella Plant-Based, to large-scale retailers.

Rumours about the move have been swirling around ever since Ferrero filed for a patent for the product in December 2023, a year when its net profits swelled to €53.2M. Nutella production also reached 500,000 tonnes globally in 2023, a 20% rise from a decade earlier.

During the conference, Giorgio Santambrogio, CEO of retail and distribution giant Gruppo VèGè, confirmed the launch on LinkedIn. “Gruppo VéGé, as is tradition, is the first retail group to be informed of Ferrero’s innovation,” he wrote. “Well done: with plant-based, the target audience for this iconic treat expands… Enjoy your Nutella, without milk, everyone.”

In a statement sent to Green Queen, Ferrero confirmed the news, saying: “At Ferrero, we are always scouting and exploring new categories and emerging food trends. By leveraging innovative spirit and decades of expertise of our beloved global brands, we are now preparing to launch Nutella Plant-Based (in a few European countries) starting in autumn 2024.”

Santambrogio added: “It surely won’t convince everyone, but it certainly cannot be said that Ferrero is not in keeping up with the times: in a market where demand for plant-based products is becoming increasingly high, a giant like Nutella will certainly create a lot of competition, pushing other companies to focus on the sector and perfect their products.”

Ferrero promises same taste for vegan Nutella ahead of Europe launch

nutella plant based
Courtesy: Ferrero

Nutella Plant-Based will be launched in select European countries, and will carry a vegan certification label on the packaging. While it’s unclear which nations it will start with, Italy and Germany are likely to be on the list, since Ferrero has filed patents in both markets.

The actual ingredient change wouldn’t be massive, as the only thing that makes Nutella unsuitable for vegans is the skimmed milk powder. But this only accounts for 8.7% of Nutella’s composition, and while it’s unclear what the company plans to use to replace the dairy element, some have suggested soy milk powder.

“This further addition to the Nutella family will deliver the same unmistakeable experience replacing milk with vegetal ingredients, offering a delicious new choice able to welcome even more people into the brand,” Ferrero added.

The raw material costs are also expected to vary very little – if not decrease – which could make the vegan Nutella accessible to a wider number of people. With the new SKU, Ferrero is hoping to target the flexitarian market – in Italy, 12 million people are estimated to be following this lifestyle. It will also be aimed at people with lactose intolerance or dairy allergies, with research suggesting that as many as 72% of Italians have some sort of lactose intolerance.

The news comes as Italy’s plant-based market continues to grow, with sales reaching €681M in 2022. Milk analogues made up a large chunk of this figure, accounting for €310M. Across Europe, meanwhile, spreads were the fourth highest-selling vegan category, growing by 13% annually to cross €247M.

“The expectations, without a doubt, are very high: will it be able to convince even the most sceptical?” wrote Santambrogio. “Here we are with the innovation of innovations: Nutella changes, evolves, and here is the launch of Nutella Plant-Based.”

This story was updated to add Ferrero’s comments.


  • Anay Mridul

    Anay is Green Queen's resident news reporter. Originally from India, he worked as a vegan food writer and editor in London, and is now travelling and reporting from across Asia. He's passionate about coffee, plant-based milk, cooking, eating, veganism, food tech, writing about all that, profiling people, and the Oxford comma.

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