Nutella vs. Jif and Hershey's Chocolate Hazelnut Spreads: Which Tastes Best?
Nutella seems to be the most popular foodstuff on the planet. Almost everybody's got a jar of the stuff, and if they don't, it's probably because they just finished it off over breakfast.
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Now that Nutella is nearly everywhere, it's starting to inspire imitators — the most visible being Jif's and Hershey's new chocolate and hazelnut spreads. With similar ingredients and serving suggestions, both of these nutty spreads are obviously aiming to take a bite out of Nutella's share of the market, but can they succeed? After all, our stubborn American tastebuds have grown mighty accustomed to the unique flavor of Nutella.
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To find out if Jif's and Hershey's chocolate-hazelnut spreads have what it takes to top our crepes and crackers, we organized a blind taste-off between all three brands. In it, participants were not only asked to rank their favorite, but also encouraged to share their thoughts on each spread's flavor and consistency.
Here's how they stacked up:
As you might have guessed, Nutella was far and away the crowd favorite. Nearly all of those surveyed ranked the ubiquitous hazelnut spread as the best, giving it high marks for taste and texture. In fact, there were only two negative comments recorded, both remarking on Nutella's slightly "slimy" consistency.
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What's more, many participants noted that Nutella had far more of a distinct hazelnut taste than its competitors. "[This is the] only one with hazelnut flavor," wrote one tester. "Nothing compares to this one's hazelnut/chocolate combo," wrote another.
Hershey's came in a distant second, earning a scant few votes for tasters' "favorite" of the three hazelnut spreads. The shared opinion among several of those surveyed was that Hershey's boasted more chocolate flavor, yet decidedly less hazelnut. "No hazelnut flavor — all chocolate," wrote one participant, while another claimed Hershey's hazelnut spread had "more of a chocolate flavor" than he/she was expecting.
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While not completely taken with Hershey's, however, many of those who tried it weren't put off by its actual taste. "More chocolate than hazelnutty, but I'd buy this," one taster remarked. Another felt that it was "a good option … to put on fruit and ice cream."
More than a few responses mentioned the spread's texture, too, with some commenting on its thick-ish consistency ("like peanut butter") and one remarking on its mouthfeel ("gritty, not so smooth").
Coming in dead last is Jif's offering, earning not a single vote as anyone's favorite. Unlike Nutella or Hershey's, multiple tasters actually found the Jif spread to be too sweet, one even writing, "Hello diabetic coma," on his/her response sheet. "It's over-compensating with sugar instead of hazelnuts," added another.
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Those who didn't remark on the spread's sweetness couldn't find many positive things to say. Descriptions ranged from "knock-off" and "too creamy" to "processed-taste" and "definitely the worst of the three."
Jif didn't escape unscathed in terms of texture, either. "I can actually taste the sugar texture/grains," read one response, while others simply described the mouthfeel as "grainy" and "gritty."
(The J.M. Smucker Company)
Unless curiosity gets the better of you, or you're concerned with the saturated fat content in Nutella (20 percent per two-tablespoon serving compared to Hershey's 10 percent and Jif's 14 percent), our tasters recommended the original.
As one participant put it, "Accept no substitutes … nothing compares to this hazelnut chocolate combo."
(Coconut and Lime)