A spread, or not a spread? That is the question.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is finally addressing the age-old conundrum of what Nutella really is.
Is it, in fact, a dessert topping that can be a spread? A spread that can be a dessert topping? WHAT EVEN IS NUTELLA??
The FDA is
holding a referendum asking the public for comments on the categorisation of our favourite chocolatey snack.
The name of the poll is quite a mouthful:
Reference Amount Customarily Consumed for Flavored Nut Butter Spreads and Products That Can Be Used To Fill Cupcakes and Other Desserts, in the Labeling of Human Food Products; Request for Information and Comments.
As it stands, Nutella is categorised by the government as a dessert topping, and has been since 1993.
This establishment view is being challenged by Nutella's Italian maker company Ferrero, which claims that it should be in the same group as other sweet spreads, like honey and jam.
If Nutella is reclassified as a sweet spread, then the size that's used to calculate a "commonly consumed portion" would fall from two tablespoons to one on the food labels, which would affect all the recommended daily intake allowances on the label.
(Who out there is only consuming two tablespoons?)
The poll is open until 3 January, but this debate actually reflects two years of Ferrero lobbying the FDA for a change in what constitutes 'normal consumption' of Nutella.
It also harks back to their survey of the 1990s, which found that a significant number of Americans ate Nutella on their ice cream.
Ferrero carried out its own survey in 2012, which found that 74 per cent of respondents ate Nutella with bread, toast or as a sandwich. Six per cent admitted to eating it on its own. Five percent chose "other" as their reply.
Here at indy100, we've decided to launch our own poll to settle this urgent matter.