What You Didn't Know About France's Nutella Tax

Nutella is a treasure that is beloved by people around the world. The hazelnut spread has been a breakfast staples for decades now and has introduced an inspiring method of convincing children to eat foods other than just candy. In fact, as far as global icons go, Nutella would more than likely be ranked amongst the likes of The Beatles, the British royal family, and the Empire State Building when it comes to its popularity and notoriety.

However, despite the angelic charm that Nutella brings, the ancient daily ritual of scooping handfuls of Nutella out of a jar and licking it off one finger at a time was severely threatened after a devastating judgement by France's government.

Officials decided to impose a 300% tax increase on products such as Nutella and other daily indulgences, including margarine, biscuits, and potato chips — in spite of the fact that France was consuming an estimated 100 million jars of Nutella every year (via The Guardian). So, why did officials make this decision?

France's tax was designed to help save the world's rainforests

The French public was naturally extremely alarmed by the tax hike, especially because it coincided with increases for beer and tobacco (via Business Insider). Dubbed the "Nutella Tax," the escalation in price was actually implemented to target all products that contained palm oil, including cakes and cookies (via France 24).

Palm oil is extracted from the fruits of African oil palm trees. Due to the high demand for palm oil as an ingredient in many essential products, continuous harvesting has increased deforestation (via BBC Newsround). The stated aim of the French government was to encourage companies to find alternatives to palm oil, as well as to discourage consumption of the unhealthy foods that contain the controversial ingredient (via The Guardian).

Although the Nutella Tax seemingly had good intentions for the environment and human health, it was seen by some as merely a scheme to make money (via Business Insider). Despite opting to keep the Nutella Tax, France's government decided to dramatically decrease the levy after strong opposition from countries that rely on palm oil production as a major source of income (via The Independent). We can only hope, though, that companies will ultimately find a sustainable alternative in order to preserve the rainforests this tax was intended to protect.