French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal has urged people to stop eating Nutella and save forests.
She said the chocolate-hazelnut spread damages the environment because it is made with palm oil.
Segolene Royal said Nutella contributed to deforestation because oil palms were replacing trees.
Nutella producer, Italian company Ferrero, said it has made commitments to source palm oil in a responsible way.
French senators tried unsuccessfully to impose a 300% tax on palm oil in 2011.
They argued that the oil was dangerously fattening and that its cultivation harmed the environment.
On June 16, Segolene Royal said that Nutella should be made from “other ingredients”.
“We have to replant a lot of trees because there is massive deforestation that also leads to global warming. We should stop eating Nutella, for example, because it’s made with palm oil,” she said, during an interview with French television network Canal+.
Ferrero gets almost 80% of its palm oil from Malaysia, according to AFP news agency. The rest of its supply comes from Brazil, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
The Italian group said that it was aware of the environmental stakes involved.
In February, Ferrero announced that all of its products were produced with palm fruit oil that was 100% certified as sustainable according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) supply chain.
Nutella billionaire Michele Ferrero, whose global chocolate empire made him Italy’s richest man, has died aged 89.
Michele Ferrero s privately-owned company is famous for its chocolate-hazelnut Nutella spread, Ferrero Rocher chocolates, Kinder eggs and Tic Tac sweets.
The billionaire died on February 14 at his Monaco home after months of illness, according to his company.
Italian President Sergio Mattarella called him a “born entrepreneur”.
Michele Ferrero’s father, a pastry maker named Pietro, developed the forerunner to Nutella in 1946, called Giandujot, combining a small amount of cocoa and lots of hazelnuts to make an affordable luxury at a time chocolate was expensive.
Michele Ferrero turned the paste into the Nutella now known the world over, produced in 11 factories and sold in 160 countries. The first pot was made in 1964.
His son, Giovanni, became chief executive of the company after his older brother Pietro died of a suspected heart attack while cycling in South Africa in 2011.
The Ferrero group employs more than 22,000 workers and has sales per year of more than €8 billion ($10.5 billion).
Forbes magazine described Michele Ferrero as “the richest candyman on the planet”, putting him and his family in 30th place on their list of the world’s wealthiest people, with wealth of $23.4 billion.
Athena Hohenberg’s quest make Nutella pay for advertising their hazelnut spread as a “nutritious” part of a “healthy breakfast” has yielded millions in rewards.
Ferrero U.S.A. Inc., an affiliate of Nutella’s Italian-based parent company, has to pay $4 to every person who purchased a jar of their chocolate treat between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012 in the entire country United States, a California court has ruled.
San Diego mother Athena Hohenberg said she was “shocked” to learn that the food she was feeding her family was not, in fact, “nutritious” but contained “dangerous levels of saturated fat”, her complaint alleges.
Athena Hohenberg and her lawyers went on to claim that Nutella intentionally presents their product as part of a “balanced breakfast” and features happy, healthy families enjoying it alongside fruit and whole wheat bread.
In reality, just two tablespoons of Nutella contain 200 calories – 100 of which come from fat. That’s the same as eating a Three Musketeers candy bar for breakfast.
These high levels of saturated fat and other sugary ingredients “significantly contribute to America’s alarming increase in childhood obesity” and can cause type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other “serious health problems”, the suit claims.
Athena Hohenberg and her lawyers claimed that Nutella intentionally presents their product as part of a “balanced breakfast” and features happy, healthy families enjoying it alongside fruit and whole wheat bread
Athena Hohenberg demanded that Ferrero be forbidden from advertising Nutella as “healthy” or “nutritious” and refund all the money they earned from a “fraudulent campaign”.
In one TV commercial, a mother muses to herself about the perils of preparing breakfast and how Nutella comes to the rescue.
“Breakfast? In this house?” a blonde mother opines from her kitchen.
“In the morning, I can use all the help I can get. That’s why I love Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread that’s perfect on multi-grain toast and even whole wheat waffles.”
“It’s a quick and easy way to give my family a breakfast they’ll want to eat. And Nutella is made with simple, quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa. They love the taste, and I feel good that they’re ready to tackle the day. Nutella – breakfast never tasted this good.”
Citing photographs and commercials like this as proof, a court sided with Athena Hohenberg and awarded her class-action suit $3million.
As part of the settlement, anyone in the United States who purchased Nutella between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012 (between August 1, 2009 AND January 23, 2012 for California residents) can file a claim and join in the class action rewards.
People can claim their purchases until July 5, 2012 and expect $4 for a single purchase and up to 5 jars for a maximum award of $20 per household.
Ferrero also has agreed to modify the Nutella label, certain marketing statements about Nutella, create new television ads, and change the Nutella website.