Very little can be done to improve Nutella: the chocolate hazelnut spread has amassed a cult following since 1946, when Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and obvious genius in Piedmont, Italy, came up with the brilliant idea to combine hazelnuts and then-rare cocoa — back then, the spread was called Giandujot and came in the form of a loaf to be sliced and eaten with bread. Despite containing nearly 21 grams of sugar every two tablespoons, few people seem to have a problem making Nutella spread a part of an otherwise nutritious breakfast. (I ate spoonfuls of it as an after-school snack, then promptly took a nap.)
Nutella’s manufacturer, Ferrero, recently partnered with advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather Italia to make Nutella even more endearing and its consumption more exciting by presenting Nutella Unica, an algorithm designed to create a series of unique labels for (almost) every Nutella jar in Italy. The algorithm pulls from a database of dozens of patterns and colors to create seven million different versions of the Nutella label — pink and green, striped and polka-dotted, Pop Art-inspired and minimal.
Each Nutella Unica color combination includes a unique ID code, authenticating every jar as a limited-edition collector’s item — Ogilvy & Mather Italia has likened the Nutella Unica jar to a “piece of art.” Advertising for Nutella Unica compares the individuality of each jar to the people of Italy themselves (there are about 60 million people in Italy, so about 11% of them can get a jar all their own — actually quite a feat). When these exceptionally delicious artworks hit shelves in Italy in February 2017, they sold out in barely a month. Can you imagine the shopping possibilities — buying multiples, or maybe trying to find an attractive pair?
Nutella Unica will eventually make its way to France, and the company has plans to create more limited-edition jars. They’re all very adorable, but I am happy these data-driven, algorithmically designed products haven’t made it to the States yet. Everyone knows that rare collectors’ items are for collecting and admiring, not eating.