Nutella vs. Peanut Butter: Will Nutella’s lead last?

Today’s consumers are getting more and more health conscious. So it makes perfect sense that their favorite spread is… Nutella?! Yes it’s true. And peanut butter brands are waging war. Read on marketers. Because this is a juicy tale of a brand that has withstood the test of federal legal scrutiny and even a public health scare (PSA: no, Nutella does not give you cancer). Our I-Factor®study revealed data that will, surprise and inform. Will the love affair last? Regardless, we’ve uncovered some deep consumer insights into Nutella’s rise to Irresistibility.

What’s trending? Consumers love a good contradiction.

Trends can be so contradictory. One day #vegan, #organic and #paleo are trending on Instagram and the next it’s #foodgasm, #gourmet and #dessertporn. Nutella has hit the super sweet spot: appealing to health conscious consumers, with the help of the brand pushing away from the ‘dessert’ label.

When Nutella first made its U.S. debut in the early 80’s, it was positioned as an alternative dessert topping. But consumers here didn’t get it. It wasn’t until 2009, when Nutella started branding itself as a breakfast staple that it reached the level of Irresistibility it has today. They earned a cult following on social media as Millennials made the trendy European spread their own.

Even healthy consumers want to indulge.

Nutella’s success is significant because they broke into the peanut butter consumer base. Lovers of Smucker’s and Skippy turned to Nutella. An analysis of Nutella’s label shows nutritional inferiority to peanut butter, but consumers seem happy to use Nutella as another nut butter for their morning toast.

Our I-Factor®study on the Peanut Butter & Spreads categories dug deep. We looked at Nutella, Smucker’s, Skippy and Peter Pan. And we uncovered some data Peanut Butter may want to take a look at.

  • In the I-Factor questionnaire, Nutella outranked its competitors’ scores 95% of the time.
  • Nutella’s scores won big in “irreplaceability” and “social buzz.” These areas are KEY for a brand’s survival in today’s digital landscape.
  • These scores show that Nutella has the tightest, deepest consumer connection in the whole nut spreads category.   

Can Nutella withstand the test of time?

Can Nutella hang on even with the FDA? Nutella is classified as a dessert topping but they WANT to be classified as a jam. No biggie, right? Wrong! Health groups and peanut butter people are freaking out and rightly so. They feel this could mislead consumers into thinking Nutella is lower in calories than peanut butter.

Also, did you know one jar of Nutella is 56% sugar!? Even just 2 tablespoons comes out to around 21g of sugar. Skippy peanut butter on the other hand, only 3g for 2 tablespoons.  

Is your brand trailing behind some unlikely competition? I’d love to help you get ahead again. I can help your brand become so Irresistible that it’s a lasting lead. Let’s talk.

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