The leader of Italy’s far-right opposition party has said he is no longer a fan of Nutella after finding out the product was made with Turkish nuts.
Matteo Salvini, the former deputy Prime Minister, has called on the company to use Italian produce – despite the nation not producing enough to meet demand.
According to the UN, Turkey is the world’s largest producer of hazelnuts, supplying 70 per cent of the world’s hazelnuts compared to Italy, which is the second largest producer, growing 20 per cent of the global crop.
Nativist Salvini’s mantra is “Italians first”. It is his League party’s motto and a core part of their populist appeal. Nutella, made by Italian manufacturer Ferrero, became his latest target after he discovered the chocolate spread uses Turkish hazelnuts.
Ferrero is the world’s biggest purchaser of the crop – buying up 25 per cent of the global supply of the nut in 2015. The firm has a factory in Manisa, western Turkey, and looks to Turkish producers for 80% of its hazelnuts.
A passionate champion of products ‘Made in Italy’, Salvini told supporters at a rally in the northern city of Ravenna on Thursday that he is no longer a fan of Nutella, arguing that manufacturer Ferrero should use Italian-grown hazelnuts instead of Turkish produce.
“I found out that Nutella uses Turkish nuts and I prefer to help companies that use Italian products,” he said, after a woman suggested he have a sandwich.
“I prefer to eat Italian and help Italian farmers”.
The League party leader, who was ousted from government over the summer, has since been mocked by political opponents and members of the public over his stance. Among those to criticise him was former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who said:
“In the days of ILVA, Alitalia, the budget law and the Nato summit, Senator Matteo Salvini attacks Nutella. Yes, Nutella.”