Global hazelnut supplies are dwindling due to the effects of climate change, and that’s bad news for the beloved chocolate spread, Nutella.
There are few moments in life when a dollop of Nutella doesn’t make everything considerably better. Stressed out? A spoonful of Nutella please. Dry pancakes? Nutella is there to save the day. Nasty breakup? You guessed it – a bit of hazelnutty-chocolatey goodness in the form of a Nutella jar will set the world to rights.
I’m not the only one who feels this way – the world is absolutely mad for the stuff. You could actually circle the world 1.8 times with the amount of Nutella produced in one year – yep, that’s a real statistic. In fact, the 5 February has even been named “World Nutella Day” by the brand’s adoring fans. To summarise: the Nutella business is serious stuff.
With this considered, any Nutella news is big news – especially when it’s news which could threaten the future of our beloved chocolate spread.
It’s all down to extreme weather conditions putting Turkey’s ability to supply hazelnuts at risk. Turkey’s provinces produce 70% of the world’s hazelnut supply, but the extreme summer storms that are becoming more common in the country’s Ordu province – due to a rise in average temperatures in the region – have put the hazelnut crops in danger. On 8 August 2018, thousands of tons of harvested hazelnuts were washed into the sea during a massive storm.
This is, of course, a massive problem – especially when so many chocolate bars and sweet treats rely on the ingredient for their recipes. The Italian company Ferrero Group – which owns Nutella – relies on the region for 80% of its hazelnut supply. And when each jar of Nutella consists of roughly 52 hazelnuts, that’s a whole lot of nuts we’re talking about.
It’s worth noting that Nutella has previously come under criticism for not being particularly environmentally friendly, because one of its main ingredients is palm oil. However, Nutella has said that the palm oil they use in their products is a sustainable oil “which respects the environment and those who cultivate it”.
Of course, Nutella isn’t the only food product being put under threat due to climate change – across the world, rising temperatures and unprecedented weather events are putting global food security in danger. Foods that rely on a specific location or climate to grow are at the highest risk – as the climate evolves, the conditions needed to grow and produce those crops become harder to find.
According to the Rainforest Alliance, crops including coffee, chocolate, tea, bananas and avocados could all be put at risk by climate change. For example, in coffee’s case, rising temperatures in coffee-growing regions have led to the spread of an insidious fungus called roya, which decimates the coffee crops.
Although we don’t need to worry about our Nutella supplies quite yet, it’s another wake-up call to the realities of the climate crisis.
We all have a responsibility to put pressure on our governments and to shop and live as sustainably as possible – and this story is a small reminder of how the effects of climate change really can be seen everywhere we look.
Images: Ferrero Group/Unsplash