Over the last decade , Melbourne has witnessed many food trends. Think gourmet souvlaki, burgers, dumplings and the food trucks that have hit town. Then there is the sweet stuff, in particular donuts, specifically….. Nutella donuts! However it’s not just Nutella in donuts, it’s Nutella everywhere! So, with this abundance of Nutella, has the phenomenon reached saturation point? What has sustained this craze, to the extent that Australia has faced Nutella shortages, especially in today’s weight and health conscious society?
The smooth Italian chocolate hazelnut spread is a delight, however it has traditionally not been a common everyday item like a jar of Vegemite, or jam. However Nutella on toast alone has not rocketed the brand up the charts. The proliferation of Nutella as come from many different channels, and the marketers at Ferrero (Nutella’s manufacturer), have cleverly associated the brand with the emotions of consumers (Iacobucci 2014), and of course, some, dpending on what you read, may believe that it is in fact nutritious! The research by Prashen Chelikani, an oral biologist at the University of Manitoba details that Nutella activates three of the five human taste receptors, sweet, bitter, and umami (savoury).
Local evidence of the Nutella craze isn’t hard to find. Fawkner, in Melbourne’s north best known for its grand cemetery, has a café, Jimmy’s Place, selling over 1,000 custom made donuts daily. As the article explains, the donuts didn’t have a Masterchef presenter’s name attached to them, they are made in a Thomastown bakery!
Now, we have seen this all before, and I vividly remember watching passengers board planes departing Sydney approximately ten years ago bringing the exclusive & elusive (at the time) Krispy Kreme donuts back home. However, after Krispy Kreme aggressively expanded to 50 stores nationally, things quickly started to unravel. Whilst their rapid expansion was at the core of the Krispy Kreme demise, they share a key similarity with Nutella – both are food industry trends where consumers can be fickle and trends and fads can quickly launch and crash.
Another key to the aggressive expansion of Nutella has been World Nutella Day, and the Australian launch of Nutella World (a cookbook), with an impressive in store promotion at the independent La Manna supermarket, located at Essendon Airport in Melbourne. The promotion took over a large portion of the store effectively smothering consumers with Nutella from outside of the store, and through the aisles!
There was also a heavily publicized Christmas promotion throughout Myer stores nationally. The promotion featured personalized Nutella jars with the gift recipient’s name printed on them. The initiative was so popular, that it became the highest selling Christmas gift in 2015! I’m guessing Bonds must have had a steep decline in jocks and socks sold! With these key promotions, it eventually led to Ferrero not being able to meet the demand generated in Australia and consequently loyal brand advocates were forced to pay a premium of 33% for their chocolate hazelnut fix in 2015.
But don’t we live in a health conscious society?
Well yes, I thought we did, especially with the incessant media coverage linking our obsession with fast food and sweets, and our sedentary lifestyle to the surge in our waistlines and incidence of lifestyle-diseases like diabetes. However, it seems Fererro’s marketing strategy to position Nutella as a health food, with in store promotions and novelty gift ideas, has motivated consumer behaviour and brand advocates are prepared to prioritise their Nutella need over “healthy” diet choices. It seems to fit into the base Hierarchy of Needs from Maslow (Iacobucci 2014). Or perhaps it is a case of everything in moderation – even a 3 or 10kg jar of Nutella! Whether this is a trend that will start to drift, lets see, however for the time being the Nutella craze shows no sign of abating!
PS: Remember, the next World Nutella Day, is less than 10 months away! Enjoy!
- Iacobucci, D., 2014. Marketing Management, 4th ed. Mason: South-Western, Cengage Learning, 2014, pp. 20-21
- ABC Online, Holes in the Krispy Kreme Strategy http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-11-05/the_holes_in_the_krispy_kreme_market/40808 <retrieved 1 April 2016?
- Marketing Magazine (Canada) “Why Nutella is Having a Moment” http://www.marketingmag.ca/brands/why-nutella-is-having-a-moment-162306 <retrieved 1 April 2016>
- The Age “Fawkner milk bar selling 1000 custom-made doughnuts every day”: http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/fawkner-milk-bar-selling-1000-custommade-doughnuts-every-day-20150601-ghb59q.html <retrieved 1 April 2016>
- The Age “Nutella shortage sparked by Melbourne doughnut craze” http://www.goodfood.com.au/good-food/food-news/nutella-shortage-sparked-by-melbourne-doughnut-craze-20150728-gilb29.html <retrieved 1 April 2016>
Written by Lachlan Cruise (lcruis): 2000129368