Sign up FAST! Login

Goodbye to Michele Ferrero, the man who gave us Nutella

normalized-tmp-54e0981e43e0aIf there ever was a good day for the king of chocolate to die, that would be on Valentine’s Day.

And so it happened to Michele Ferrero, Italy’s richest man and the maker of Nutella, who died on Feb. 14 at the age of 89, after a long life of hazelnut chocolate-coated success that took him from a small town in Italy all the way to a fortune worth $23.4 billion.

Stashed in: Founders, Business Facts, Brands!, Life Death Life Death, R.I.P., Today I Learned, Nutella!, Italy!

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

Nutella made him Italy's richest man. Wow. 

Right?  You'd think it would be a car company heir.

The more I think about it, the more I realize Nutella was world changing. 

Big story with a small beginning.

Ferrero inherited the homonymous company in 1957 from his father, Pietro Ferrero, who owned a bakery in Alba in Piedmont, a region known for the production of hazelnuts. As the story goes, Pietro Ferrero had created in the 1940s a paste of hazelnuts and chocolate (in short supply during the war) which he then turned into a spreadable product called supercrema gianduja.

In 1964, Michele Ferrero rebranded the spread, giving it a more international-sounding name: Nutella. And that was about it.

Nutella’s success—soon followed by other international chocolate and candy hits such as Ferrero Rocher, Kinder Surprise Eggs, and Tic Tac—turned what was a small town business into the fourth-largest candy maker in the world. Ferrero now buys up 25% of the world’s production of hazelnuts.

Today I learned the Nutella brand is only 51 years old. Wow!

And 25% of the world's hazelnuts?! That's amazing.

You May Also Like: