Ferrero – Italy’s world renowned chocolate maker and the manufacturer of Nutella wants to diverge from Turkey as their sole major hazelnut supplier.
As the food giant searches for competent hazelnut suppliers to meet their consumer demands, their top options across the globe happen to be south-western New South Wales in Australia, eastern Canada, and Chile.
Ferrero is ranked as one of the biggest hazelnut buyers across the world. Hazelnuts make a prime ingredient for their Nutella spread. It’s an industry worth CAD 3.5 billion and until recently, was Turkey’s stronghold.
However, Ferrero’s farmer recruitment efforts might change all that. The hazelnut industry has been prone to tight supplies and volatile prices. Turkey alone provides 70% of the world’s hazelnut supply, leaving food companies like Mondelez International, Ferrero, Nestle, and Kraft Heinz with little choice.
Ottawa currently has 400 acres of hazelnut trees planted across the province. Last month, $500,000 was earmarked for a project that aims to test different varieties of hazelnut trees in Ontario.
Ferrero has helped sponsor this project in the hopes that the fund can help farmers expand hazelnut tree plantation in Canada to 25,000 acres by 2027.
Estimate reveals that farmers in Ontario can end up earning 10 times more from hazelnuts than corn plantations per acre.
Barb Yates, an agronomist working in Canada with Ferrero said that there are similar efforts underway in Chile, South Africa, Australia, Serbia, and New Jersey, USA.
“Everyone is looking for new places to plant hazelnuts…Yields are good. Costs are low. Growers are very optimistic,” says Jaime Armengolli the owner of Agricola La Campana in Chile.
Meanwhile in Australia, Ferrero’s subsidiary Agri Australis managed to plant 900,000 hazelnut trees across 2,000 hectares of agricultural land in southwest New South Wales back in 2014. There, Ferrero remains actively involved in research and development to help growers overcome agricultural issues and improve yields.