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3 Important Life Lessons You Can Learn From the Story Of a World Famous Chocolate Spread

Have you ever used Nutella spread for your bread, toast, or if you are like me – just eaten it right out of the jar!? Of course, it’s heavenly in a yummy, my-taste-buds-are-doing-somersaults kind of way, but I bet you didn’t know the hurdles and adversities that manufacturers of this feel-good product had to overcome to make it the brand it is today, and the lessons that can be learnt by their actions. 

The spread was formulated by Italian, Pietro Ferrero due to a shortage of cocoa during World War II because at that time, basic commodities were rationed to ensure that it went round to everyone. But a recount of the history will not be complete without going back a few hundred years to a previous era.

It was actually at the turn of the 19th century when Napoleon, Emperor of France was wreaking havoc across Europe. The uncertainties occasioned by these wars cut off the trade routes that supplied cocoa to Italian chocolate makers, and in confronting this problem, they had to choose between either losing their product and profits, or adapting their recipe and hoping that customers would respond positively.

Back then, because these chocolate makers couldn’t get all the cocoa they needed, they began to search for any local product they could use as a substitute. As the story goes, one particularly resourceful chocolate maker decided to use a mixture of hazelnut powder and cocoa in his next batch of chocolate bars and soon, everyone else followed suit – resulting in the creation of a product that came to be called gianduia. It became so wildly popular that demand for it stayed high long after Napoleon had fallen and the wars had ceased.

It was about a hundred years after these events that Pietro Ferrero came into the picture. And just like it happened a century before, World War II resulted in a shortage of cocoa available to chocolate makers, so bad was it that each person was given his own ration! But Pietro Ferrero knew that whatever may be happening in the world, it was highly unlikely that people would be willing to live without chocolate due to rations, so he came up with a solution.

In 1951, Pietro saw an opportunity to adapt his family’s gianduia recipe to create a spreadable cream that consumers worldwide would enjoy —  it would be chocolate, only without the use of so much cocoa. After doing much work with his son – both on the recipe and the name – they came up with an improved version of the spread, and which in 1964, they named Nutella.

So, how does this little story about Napoleon, cocoa, wars, and resourceful Italian chocolate makers affect anyone? It’s none other than that adversity can lead to huge success if you harness the ingenuity and creativity that challenges bring. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear stories about how people bounced back from failures, turned challenges into profitable solutions, and made blessings for themselves out of constraints and extremely hard situations. 

This is the moral and aim of this story. It helps us see what is possible when we keep our heads and remain focused during tough and trying times, and how resourcefulness, innovation and perseverance can help most anyone create the greatest opportunity of their life and business. By having succeeded in working out a better end for themselves in this way, they give you hope and the license that if they succeeded, you can as well.

This article was adapted from one that appeared earlier on deseretnews.com

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