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Ferrero: A story of family values

Ferrero: A story of family values

Back to the beginning

The story of the Ferrero business began back in 1946 in the town of Alba in Italy, when baker Pietro Ferrero transformed his pastry shop into a chocolate factory. His decision to take his passion for chocolate to a new level was the first step in building the family-oriented brand that’s loved around the world today.

The Ferrero family have always been innovators, and one of their first breakthroughs was a clever solution to a timely problem. To overcome the cocoa shortage following the Second World War, Pietro invented a cream made from hazelnuts and cocoa, called Gianduja. This invention, which eventually became Nutella, put the Ferrero Company on the map. By the 1950s, Gianduja was so successful that Ferrero needed 200 vans to transport it across Italy.

Pietro and his son Michele’s achievement in creating delicious treats helped propel them to become the first Italian confectionery manufacturer to expand overseas after World War Two. They opened their first plant abroad in Germany in 1956, closely followed by one in France, and we recently celebrated 50 years of being in the UK!

The next generation

In 1957, Pietro’s son Michele succeeded his father as the head of the family business and immediately began a period of innovation that revolutionised Ferrero’s product range. In total, Michele launched 20 products during his lifetime. The first was Nutella in 1964 followed by favourites Kinder and Tic Tac in the same decade.

Perhaps one of the biggest innovations came in 1974, when Michele Ferrero created Kinder Surprise , with the unique combination of chocolate together with a game, puzzle or toy flying off the shelves.

Michele’s next great inspiration was the launch of the iconic Ferrero Rocher in 1982. Michele Ferrero, always holding himself to the highest standards of quality and freshness, took five years to perfect the treat. To this day, Ferrero Rocher chocolates undergo rigorous taste testing – every batch of cocoa is tested for bitterness before being used – and their labels and chocolate casing are carefully checked for flaws before leaving the factory.

New century, new focus

As the new century began, Ferrero and its employees started a new chapter together. In 2005, the company founded Kinder + Sport, our core social responsibility programme that helps children around the world learn about the importance and joy of moving.

Ferrero also committed to a renewed focus on ensuring transparency in our supply chains and in 2015, we secured certification from the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), which confirmed the palm oil we use in all of our products to be 100% sustainable and segregated.

This period has certainly been one of change, for the brands and for the family. After Michele’s eldest son Pietro passed away in 2011, his younger son Giovanni became the sole leader of the business in its third generation. It was Giovanni who took the step to acquire the well-loved British brand Thorntons in 2015 – the latest addition to our group of treats and our first step in the United Kingdom.

This year, the Ferrero Group is embarking on a new governance set up, through which Mr. Giovanni Ferrero will assume the role of Executive Chairman, focusing on long-term strategies, new business directions and breakthrough innovation, whilst Mr. Lapo Civiletti will be appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer.

With such an amazing history, we can’t wait to see what the next 70 years will bring!