FDA Seeks Information On Nutella's Reasonable Serving Size

03-Nov-2016 - USA

The food and Drug Administration is seeking information on Nutella's reasonable serving size on the request of its maker Ferrero SpA, reports said, citing a document posted online.

The Italian company, which markets the chocolate-hazelnut spread as a breakfast replacement for butter and syrup on pancakes, had petitioned the FDA in 2014 to put Nutella in the same regulatory class as jam, that will change its serving size to one tablespoon. Currently, Nutella is classified as a dessert topping, with serving size of two tablespoon.

The amount of calories and fat for Nutella's current serving size stand at 200 and 11 grams, respectively, and a favorable decision by FDA would reduce to half the fat and calories consumers see on the label.

Ferrero informed FDA that the current two-tablespoon serving size on the U.S. label would confuse consumers when compared with other spreads that have a smaller serving size.

Ferrero in its petition said, "Because Nutella is used in the same manner as jams and jellies, uniformity in RACC values among Nutella, jams, and jellies would enable consumers to make informed nutritional comparisons of these similar products."

The company also noted that the U.K., France and Australia, among other countries, use the one-tablespoon serving size.

According to the document, the FDA is gathering information on flavored nut-butter spreads, their intended use and typical consumption amounts.

The FDA in 1993 had ruled Nutella to be in the product category called "other dessert toppings." At that time, most Americans were using the product on their ice cream, rather than as a spread.

The company also pointed out that in 2012, 74 percent of Nutella in U.S. was used on bread, compared with 2 percent on ice cream. This is in comparison to 1991's use of 8 percent of Nutella on bread and 27 percent on ice cream.

According to market researcher Euromonitor, Nutella held a 70 percent market share for chocolate spreads in the U.S. in 2013.

In the U.S., the FDA is responsible for establishing "reference amounts customarily consumed," or RACC, for 139 food-product categories, and to determine a serving size. The categories include cookies, egg rolls, coffee, dry pasta, butter, and canned fruits, among others.

A positive decision by FDA is said to help other cocoa-based spread makers, including Hershey Co. and J.M. Smucker Co., as well. (dpa)

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