As far as most people are concerned, Nutella's primary classification is easy: totally delicious. But the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is asking a question that carries a little more weight for the beloved chocolate-hazelnut concoction: is it a topping or is it a spread?
The comes after parent company Ferrero requested the FDA reclassify Nutella. In the U.S. it's currently classified as a dessert topping. Ferrero wants the chocolate spread (topping? We're still not sure) to be in the same category as jam and honey.
So why the change? According to both Ferrero, it's all about portion size. Currently Nutella's nutrition label currently lists a serving as two tablespoons, that's about 200 calories. If Nutella was to be classified as a spread, then the new serving size on the label would be one tablespoon, which would cut the calories listed in half. This, says Ferrero, could ultimately influence shoppers, possibly encouraging them to buy Nutella thanks to the lower calorie listing.
Their argument is that the current classification of topping is outdated, going back a few decades to when we first got to know Nutella and used it as a topping on ice cream. Now we're more likely to spread it on toast they say. We agree that's a popular way to enjoy Nutella but we're not so sure when they claim most consumers aren't eating more than a tablespoon of Nutella at a time.
All this chocolate-hazelnut stuff bring up another issue: are we really so oblivious to serving sizes that we'd be more inclined to buy a food with the same exact number of calories as it's always had just because the label suddenly says "100 calories" instead of "200 calories?" Do we all need to pay more attention to serving sizes? Yeah, 100-calorie Nutella sounds better than 200-calorie Nutella -- especially if you don't realize that the only reason for the calorie cut is that you need to eat half the amount of Nutella. We're going to keep on spreading and topping as before, and remembering that over-consumption is not a good thing.