There’s no denying that Nutella is one of the most popular foods in the world. One jar of Nutella is sold every 2.5 seconds. For those of us who love Nutella, we will go great lengths to feed our addiction. Last year, some thieves in Germany even made off with over $20,000 worth of the super-sweet, chocolate hazelnut spread. That’s a lot of Nutella.
Nutella was started in the 1940s by Ferrero and has inspired a following that borders on obsession — and with good reason. It’s delicious. You can eat it as a dip. You can eat is as a pastry filling. You can even eat it off a spoon. Even if you don’t like the taste of Nutella, you’ve got to admit that a spread that’s basically a richer, nuttier version of chocolate frosting appeals to a lot of people.
That’s why many companies are trying to imitate the iconic spread, in hopes of profiting off of Nutella’s success. The question for Nutella fans is: How do these fakes measure up to the real deal? There are many reasons why someone might want an alternative to Nutella. They might be looking for something healthier to eat with their breakfast, or maybe they dislike the strong hazelnut flavor.
We compared two alternative “chocolate spreads” to see how they stacked up to the classic. Here’s the point-by-point breakdown.
Hershey’s Spreads: Chocolate with Hazelnut
We found this in a campus grocery shop, but you can also buy it online. It comes in plain chocolate spread, chocolate with hazelnut and chocolate with almond. We chose the type with hazelnut because we wanted it to be as close to Nutella as possible. Just like any science experiment you want to control all the control variables.
Taste: This tasted like a melted version of a stale Hershey’s bar. There was no hazelnut flavor at all. On its own, this spread was practically inedible. It tasted much better when paired with pretzels as a snack. The combination of salty sweet is undeniably good.
Texture: Nutella is glossy and smooth, while the Hershey’s spread is thick, opaque and harder to spread.
Nutrition: For one serving, Hershey’s has 10 calories more than Nutella, but 1 less gram of fat and the same amount of sugar. These nutritional differences are so small that I don’t think this knockoff can be deemed as any “healthier” than Nutella.
Price: Sells for about the same price as Nutella. At Walmart, a 13 oz container costs $3.38 compared to Nutella’s $3.48.
Bottom Line: There’s no particular nutritional or financial difference from Nutella. If you prefer Hershey’s chocolate over the taste of hazelnuts, this is the spread for you.
Justin’s Chocolate Hazelnut Butter Blend
We bought this spread thinking that it was an “organic” alternative to Nutella. After going through their website though, it seems that they are not an organic company but actually an “all-natural,” vegan and gluten-free. Justin’s sells several interesting nut butters as well as a few flavors of peanut butter cups.
Taste: While Nutella typically has a strong chocolatey flavor throughout, we could hardly taste the cocoa in Justin’s spread. People with a huge sweet tooth will find this deeply unsatisfying.
We added sugar and the taste improved significantly. If you don’t want to add sugar, this spread can function just the same as peanut, almond or any other nut butter. Eat it with fruit, or spread it on bread with your favorite jelly for an upgraded PB&J sandwich.
Texture: Because Justin’s spread doesn’t have many chemicals, the ingredients tend to settle over time. It needs to be stirred every time you use it.
Nutrition: All the ingredients are much healthier than Nutella’s mixture of chemicals. The first ingredient is hazelnuts, followed by almonds, and then the sugars, oils and cocoas. Nutella, on the other hand, lists its first ingredients as sugar and palm oil. Plus, most of Justin’s ingredients are all-natural, which reduces the amount of unknown substances you are putting into your body.
Justin’s spread has almost one-third of Nutella’s sugar — 8 grams per serving to Nutella’s 21 grams. This is the strongest point in this knockoff’s favor.
In fact, the message from the owner on the side of the container uses this as their main “why-you-should-buy-this-product” argument. It reads:
Quick Question: Do you eat cake frosting for breakfast? I didn’t think so. Neither do I. Yet some chocolate hazelnut butters have more sugar than cake frosting. Really. You can check. I’ll wait… see. So this is a warning that my chocolate hazelnut butter may not taste like what you’re used to; sugar.
Interestingly enough, the fat and calorie content is only slightly lower than Nutella’s.
Price: At almost $10 per 16 oz jar, this spread is on the expensive end of the spectrum.
You can also buy little serving size packets, but these are still on the expensive side as well at almost $1 each.
Bottom Line: This “chocolate hazelnut spread” is almost all hazelnut and no chocolate, but it is a healthier alternative to Nutella.
So there you have it. For us, neither of these spreads lived up the same standard as Nutella, but they were both good in their own ways. If you’re looking for even more alternatives to Nutella, check out Time’s rankings. There are many unique tastes out there for you to explore, so don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and try some out — even if they are knockoffs.