With one jar sold every 2.5 seconds in the world, Nutella has become a social and commercial phenomenon.
But It also means that 34560 people a day are frustrated by trying to open the jar.
The feeling resembles the one you get when you’re late to your train, or plane. You’re so close to it but so far from getting to it: you’re happy because you already see yourself spreading the chocolate on your bread and eating it, but the seal of the jar stands as one final obstacle.
Created in 1963 in Italy by Ferrero, Nutella began selling in the United States at the beginning of the 80’s, the brand has now gone on to worldwide success and adoration, backed by very engaged fans.
They’re so engaged that they unilaterally, without the brand’s consent at first, declared that February the 5th was officially Nutella’s international day. The brand is a victim of its own success, even more so when you think about the 5 tons of Nutella that were stolen in Germany in 2013 – not many other food products are targeted in heists.
But with so many fans why haven’t Nutella changed its infamous golden seal?
The internet is filled with memes and forums depicting the frustration caused by the seal that comes as a barrier to those who want to indulge in the spread.
On Braineet, the platform that connects users to their favorite brands, Nutella are flooded with suggestions as to how their famous golden seal can be improved.
Some suggest changes because they don’t have nails to open it properly, others like to heat Nutella up before they eat it and want a seal that is microwave safe, while others would rather use a tube for more mobility and ease of spread (and avoid the need for that adapted spoon).
Numerous reasons are given as to why the brand has kept its emblematic package and hasn’t changed it, despite the growing demand. The official reason is that that the seal preserves all the tastes and smells that make it the success that it is today.
Another explanation put forward is that the frustration is part of the experience, and that the emotion felt before opening the jar fully adds to the craving and the eventual satisfaction of indulging in the chocolate spread it contains.
A final version suggests that it is part of positionning Nutella as a high end product, which would explain why a tube to spread the paste was never created, and that the packaging remained unchanged with the seal kept in gold to give it a “luxurious” look and feel.
But, in a society where the way we use products evolves, dictated by the constant change in our habits, our needs, and how other things change around us, can Nutella afford to resist innovation?
A trusted source told us that Nutella has had difficulties in the implementation of new projects with an innovation cycle that’s too long at around 5 years, often stretching to as much as 10.
The reason behind it might be an organization that hasn’t included the process of innovation in creation.
This is almost certainly the issue preventing any changes in Nutella’s golden seal. Even though it seems that Nutella is constantly trying to satisfy its fans through incremental changes, their innovation cycle is simply too slow.
The brand is encouraging users and consumers to toy with its image, to play with their traditional and emblematic packaging, so that they can create their own personalized jars and is even launching a restaurant to meet the growing demand of its fervent fans, but it will need to respond to the larger demands of its consumers.
Nutella, as a brand, is internationally known, but competition is growing, with the likes of Barefoot in the US, Tartinades in France, Nocciolata in Italy, and even Justin’s in the UK. Each of those rivals offer a slight variation on a classic, appealing to some of the more specific needs of chocolate spread lovers. Can Nutella afford to resist change?