Nutella’s CEO has passed away at the age of 89. Michele Ferrero was the world’s foremost and richest chocolatier. On Valentine’s Day, he succumbed to illness, which he struggled with for some time. He died in Montecarlo, Italy, surrounded by his wife Maria and son, Giovanni.
The company’s first chocolate laboratory was located in Alba, Italy among a preponderance of hazelnut trees. Patriarch Pietro, Ferrero’s father, used them as the inspiration for some of his most famous desserts. He started making hazelnut-inspired spreads during the cocoa shortage of World War II.
Pietro sold Nutella, previously named Pasta Giaduja in a 660 pound solid block of cocoa powder and hazelnut. He later renamed in Supercrema after smoothing out the block into a spreadable cream. Michele, who would eventually take the company over, refined the product once more, changing its name to Nutella and taking it all over Europe. It was an instant success. Mixing hazelnut with sugar and palm oil seemed like a simple yet delicious idea for a dessert spread. Processed liquid cocoa beans were mixed with processed hazelnuts, along with sugar and milk to make a hazelnut cream. The Ferrero company uses so much palm oil in their product that the Italian government charged them a 20 percent tax on the product. It is appropriately dubbed, the “Nutella Tax.”
His other successful venture, decadent candy Ferrero Rocher, combines the candy maker’s famous surname with the French word for “rock.” The candy resembled a rock; a circular yet bumpy surface creating its chopped hazelnut exterior. The chopped hazelnuts encase a whole hazelnut along within a wafer shell mixed with milk. A fancy gold outer layer wrapping lends a feeling of decadence to the eater. The commercial to advertise the products smacks of aristocracy and wealth as a suited butler makes his way through a “moneyed throng” baring a croquembouche-styled tower of Ferrero-Rocher candies.
Tic Tacs were Ferrero’s foray outside of chocolate confections and preceded his success with Ferrero Rocher. This sweet “1 ½ calorie Breath Mint” appealed to average people. Originally named, “Refreshing Mints” the name changed to “Tic Tac” because of the distinctive sound the breath mints made inside of its plastic container.
Although many of his candies represented refinement and flare Ferrero started off humbly. Born in Dogliani, Italy, he inherited the business from his father Pietro Ferrero when the Nutella CEO passed away. The company was a boon to Italy’s economy, and one of the country’s top brands. Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella said that Ferrero was forward-thinking. Pioneering products along with hard work made his company a great success. At his death, Ferrero was 30th on the list of the world’s billionaires with a net worth of $23.4 billion dollars. His surviving son Giovanni is now head of the corporation.
Before the Nutella CEO passed away, he gained fame and fortune through his innovative use of a cocoa product. He was one of many men who made their fortunes from the cocoa bean. Milton Hershey’s net worth at the time of his death was $60 million dollars. He and his wife Kitty had no children and he left all of his money to the Milton Hershey Fund, which provides a boarding school for low-income children. It is also helps support popular Hershey Park in Dauphin County, Hershey, Pennsylvania.
By Danielle Branch
Photo by Ramil Sagum – License
Photo by All T – License