Nutella's ingredients surprise the internet

  • 19/01/2017
Nutella ingredients (Verbraucherzentrale)
What one consumer agency believes is in a jar of Nutella (Verbraucherzentrale)

They say a picture is worth 1000 words, and that's never been truer than in the recent case of a jar of Nutella.

The ingredients which make up the sweet hazelnut spread are written on the back of every jar, but it took an image showing them separated into layers to catch the world's attention.

The years-old image appeared on social media website Reddit in the wake of a story last week that palm oil, a major ingredient in Nutella, was a cancer risk.

Reddit user MrFlow shared the image, originally created by German consumer protection agency Verbraucherzentrale, showing just how much sugar and palm oil goes into each jar.

What's in Nutella (Verbraucherzentrale)
The original graphic (Verbraucherzentrale)

It's half-full of sugar, with the rest made up of hazelnuts, palm oil, skim milk powder and cocoa.

Of course, you can find this out by looking at the jar - but the visualisation surprised thousands online, who quickly set up a whole new section on Reddit just for food infographics

So far, users have shared images showing how much sugar is in different soft drinks, calories in wine, and the different layers of a hamburger.

The layers of a burger (Modernist Cuisine)
The layers of a burger (Modernist Cuisine)

Some posts are more serious than others. One, using a screenshot from kids' TV show Spongebob Squarepants, claims that seaweed is "50 percent sea, 50 percent weed".

Ferrero has not commented on the Nutella infographic, the Daily Mail reported.

So what's in Nutella?

Nutella is more than half sugar - a fact laid bare in the photograph. A single two-tablespoon serving - about the amount you'd slather on a sandwich - contains 836kj, about 10 percent of the average adult's daily intake, and more than a can of Coca-Cola.

While each jar is only about 13 percent hazelnuts, the spread is so popular Ferrero uses around 25 percent of the world's entire hazelnut supply.

It's estimated around 12 million jars are sold ever year - more than 400,000 tonnes.

The exact Nutella recipe is a closely guarded secret. It was originally created as a cheaper substitute for chocolate, but took on a life of its own when the company starting adding more sugar in the late 1950s.