Meridian chocolate nut butters

Fast-growing spreads brand Meridian is looking to take on Nutella with the launch of two cocoa-based nut butters.

The new variants, Cocoa & Peanut (rsp: £2.79/280g) and Cocoa & Hazelnut (rsp: £3.99/170g), roll out into 750 Tesco stores this month, as well as Ocado and independents.

This is the latest in a line of nut butters with added ingredients from the brand, whose value sales shot up 48.2% to £8.5m last year, ranking sixth in the jams and spreads category in The Grocer’s Top Products Survey last year [Nielsen 52 w/e 15 October 2016].

The company hoped the NPD would be seen as “a direct competitor to Nutella”, said Russell Smart, commercial director of Meridian owner 3V.

“Meridian will continue to expand into rapidly growing nut-based niches over the next five years,” he added.

Meridian’s Cocoa & Peanut Butter contains 11.7g of saturates and 12.6g of sugars per 100g, while its Cocoa & Hazelnut Butter contains 10.4g saturates and 9.5g sugars. By comparison, 100g of Nutella Hazelnut Chocolate Spread typically contains 11g saturates and 56.8g sugars.

Meridian claims the ethical credentials of its spreads are boosted by the complete omission of palm oil, which has been linked to deforestation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses.

However, the lack of palm oil in Meridian’s butters means consumers have to stir coconut oil – which naturally separates from the butter inside the jar – into the products before serving.

Nutella owner Ferrero has committed to sustainably sourcing palm oil, achieving 100% traceability of its sources to 86 mills and 98.5% traceability to 447 plantations.

Some £13.1m in value was added to the spreads category last year, which grew 4.4% to £308.4m [Nielsen].