France’s environment minister has apologised to Ferrero for claiming the palm oil it uses contributes to climate change and urging French consumers to boycott Nutella to ‘save the forests’.

Ségolène Royal had made the claims on a French TV show earlier this week, sparking wide international media coverage and outrage from Italian politicians who accused her of unfairly attacking a major Italian food export.

While unsustainably produced palm oil is linked to environmental and social problems in the tropics, all the oil used in Ferrero’s products is certified sustainable under the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) scheme. Environmental campaigners – including from Greenpeace – also jumped to the confectionery maker’s defence, saying it was taking a more responsible approach to its palm oil than many other companies.

Yesterday, Royal apologised for her claims, and acknowledged progress had been made.

She wrote on Twitter: “Thousand apologies for the controversy around Nutella. Agree to highlight progress.”


Earlier in the week, Italian environment minister Gian Luca Galletti urged Royal to “leave Italian products alone” and declared he would be having “bread and Nutella” for dinner.

Meanwhile, Nutella fans have used the hashtags #nutella and #nutellagate on social media to express their love for the hazelnut spread and vowed to continue eating it.