The Chemistry of Nutella

Introduction

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Nutella, a common chocolate hazelnut spread, has only recently became popular in the United States. At the time of it’s invention, Nutella was a way for families to enjoy something that tasted good for less money. Nutella is a product of the company called Ferrero, a company that is also responsible for many other tasty products that we enjoy in America today. These products include Tic Tacs and those delicious little chocolate Ferrero Rocher candies. They have many other products available in Europe and other countries that include Kinder Chocolate, Kinder Surprise, and Mon Cheri. Out of all of the products that Ferrero manufactures, Nutella is claimed to be one of the most popular. It was available in Europe 40 years prior to it’s debut in America. Now, the Nutella we get in stores is manufactured in Toronto, Canada, and can be found in all major grocery or convenience stores. I chose to do my project on Nutella because I believe it is the key to happiness. I also eat  A LOT of Nutella.
Composition of ...
  • roasted hazelnuts

  • skim milk

  • a hint of cocoa

  • sugar

  • palm oil

  • Reduced Minerals Whey (Milk)

  • Lecithin as Emulsifier (soy)

  • Vanillin (an Artificial Flavor)

  • Lots of love

Main Chemicals, Compounds, Components

Nutella is made by harvesting cocoa beans  from the cocoa tree and leaving them out  to dry for about 10 days.  They are then roasted to release the cocoa butter and  then pressed to remove all the cocoa butter. This butter is not used in the Nutella, but is taken away to be used for other chocolate products. What’s remaining  is pure cocoa, which is then crushed. Hazelnuts are then  inspected to ensure quality, and cleaned and then  roasted. Each jar of Nutella contains about 50 hazelnuts! After  they have been roasted they are added to a mixture of  the pure cocoa powder, skimmed milk, sugar. This mixture is then mixed into a smooth paste that we all love  and sent for packaging.

Chemistry's Role

The three main components in Nutella are

  • Roasted Hazelnuts

  • Skim Milk

  • Just a Hint of Cocoa

Background Research

Hazelnuts, (or Corylus avellana),  are rich in Folate, an important vitamin that helps prevent megaloblastic anemia and neural tube defects in newborn babies. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, which is a powerful lipid soluble antioxidant that is required for maintaining the integrity of cell membrane and mucus membranes and skin because it protects it from harmful oxygen-free radicals. Hazelnuts are also a rich source of minerals including manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, zinc, and selenium. Copper and manganese are the essential cofactors for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. The Iron found in hazelnuts helps prevent microcytic- anemia, and magnesium and phosphorus are important components of bone metabolism. Because of the complex composition of hazelnuts, a specific chemical formula has not been developed.

Skim Milk, the other main component of Nutella, is made when all the cream is removed from the whole milk. While whole milk is a good source of Vitamin A, Skimmed milk contains almost no Vitamin A. Skim Milk also contains less fat, making it healthier than other types of milk. Skim Milk is primarily made up of 90.8% water, 3.4% protein, and 4.9% carbohydrates.  While Skim Milk doesn't contain many vitamins or nutrients, the hazelnuts in Nutella make up for it.

Unlike the other ingredients in Nutella, cocoa has a very complex chemical formula.Cocoa comes from a bean grown on a cacao tree. They can grow to be 100 years old or more! The trees, after blooming, develop into pods that fill with a white or rosy colored, sweet pulp that each contain about 50 cocoa beans.Cocoa beans must then be harvested, roasted, and a through sorting process called winnowing. Then they are ground up to be what we know as cocoa powder, or the cocoa that is used in the making of Nutella. Cocoa is grown best areas like Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Indonesia and other areas.   The chemical formula contains seven carbon, eight hydrogen, four nitrogen, and two oxygen atoms to form C7H8N4O2.  How much is “a hint?” Due to it’s popularity,  the Ferrero company does not release the exact amount of cocoa used in producing Nutella. The world may never know.

Resources

Nutella, once just popular in Europe, has recently become a worldwide sensation. To prove just how popular this delicious chocolatey spread is, The Los Angeles Times printed an article in 2009 including some fun facts about Nutella. The official website for Nutella is also a good source for these fun facts. They are as follows;

  • In one day, the amount of Nutella that is produced worldwide is about three times the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

  • 70 million hazelnuts are used worldwide to produce Nutella each day. (that’s about 1,400,000 jars of Nutella each day!)

  • If you lined up the number of jars sold annually, they would wrap around the moon 4 times.

  • The World Nutella Day is February 5th, so mark your calendars!

About the Author

Mac Stone is a junior at Senior High who loves oboe, choir, cats, and... well.. Nutella. She has a twin sister who looks nothing like her, and a pudgy chocolate lab named Scooby, or as she calls him, Scubby. Her list of accomplishments includes being a mermaid, living off tea, and finishing this project. Here she is pictured at a Nutella crepe stand at Bryant Park in New York City.



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