Devotees of Nutella hazelnut chocolate spread can call off the riots -- the brand’s Italian parent Ferrero says it reached a peaceful understanding with the superfan founder of World Nutella Day, an annual appreciation event that the company tried to shut down.
Nutella aficionados worldwide were shocked when, on May 16, Sara Rosso posted a note online that she had received a cease-and-desist demand from Ferrero’s lawyers.
Rosso, an American blogger living in Italy who launched World Nutella Day in 2007, wrote that she would darken the website for the unofficial Feb. 5 holiday along with all social media promotion on May 25 in response to the legal challenge.
Supporters bristled at what they perceived to be an attack on the high priestess of the sweet treat. Some said they returned Nutella products they had already bought, while others threatened to boycott the creamy spread.
“Nutella…more nuts in company management than in every jar. Idiots,” wrote Tim Young on the World Nutella Day Facebook page, which has 40,000 likes. Nearly 7,000 people follow the holiday’s Twitter profile.
The outrage may have prompted Ferrerro to try to calm its consumers by reaching out to Rosso.
This week, she posted that she was “relieved to say there’s been a positive resolution to the situation.”
In a statement on its own website, Ferrero wrote that it had “positive direct contact” with Rosso that “has brought an end to the case” and “immediately stopped the previous action.”
The cease-and-desist letter “arose from a routine brand defense procedure that was activated as a result of some misuse of the Nutella brand on the fan page,” the company said in its statement.
The firm is now expressing “sincere gratitude” to Rosso for her passion for Nutella. Rosso, on her website, wrote that was “satisfied with the turn of events.”
She also swore that the hullabaloo was not a hoax or publicity stunt and that she has never been compensated by Ferrero.
Nutella sales for the year ended Aug. 31 were up 8.9% from the previous year, according to Ferrero, despite the company’s struggles with rising prices for raw materials, packaging and energy. The business also owns the Ferrero Rocher and Kinder chocolate brands as well as Tic Tac mints.
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