Ferrero SpA ([ferˈrɛːro]) is an Italian manufacturer of branded chocolate and confectionery products and it is the third biggest chocolate producer and confectionery company in the world. It was founded in 1946 in Alba, Piedmont, Italy by Pietro Ferrero, a confectioner and small-time pastry maker who laid the groundwork for the Nutella and famously added hazelnut to save money on chocolate. The company saw a period of tremendous growth and success under Pietro's son Michele Ferrero, who in turn handed over the daily operations to his sons. His son Pietro (the founder's grandson), who oversaw global business, died on April 18, 2011, in a cycling accident in South Africa at the age of 47. The Ferrero Group worldwide – now headed by CEO Giovanni Ferrero – includes 38 trading companies, 18 factories, approximately 21,500 employees and produces around 365,000 tonnes of Nutella each year. Ferrero International SA's headquarters is in Luxembourg. Ferrero SpA is a private company owned by the Ferrero family and has been described as "one of the world's most secretive firms". Reputation Institute's 2009 survey ranks Ferrero as the most reputable company in the world.
In 1946, Pietro Ferrero invented a cream of hazelnuts and cocoa, derived from Gianduja and called it "Giandujot", or Pasta Gianduja. The initial product came in solid loaves wrapped in aluminium foil, which had to be sliced with a knife, and was succeeded by a spreadable version Supercrema.
With assistance from his brother Giovanni Ferrero, Pietro Ferrero created his new company to produce and market the initial product. Following his work, Pietro was succeeded by his son Michele Ferrero as chief executive. Michele and his wife Maria Franca relaunched his father's recipe as Nutella, which was first sold in 1964. After World War II, they opened production sites and offices abroad and Nutella eventually became the world's leading chocolate-nut spread brand. Ferrero is the world's largest consumer of hazelnuts, buying up 25% of global production in 2014. The company is currently run by Giovanni Ferrero, grandson of Pietro and son to Michele Ferrero.
The company places great emphasis on secrecy, reportedly to guard against industrial espionage. It has never held a press conference and does not allow media visits to its plants. Ferrero's products are made with machines designed by an in-house engineering department.
Ferrero produces several lines of confectionery goods under various brand names, as well as the chocolate-hazelnut spread, Nutella. The company has produced Nutella since 1964. The production of Nutella uses one-quarter of the world's annual hazelnut supply. In 2014, Ferrero acquired Oltan Group, the largest hazelnut supplier in the world.
It also produces the line of Ferrero branded chocolate products, including Pocket Coffee, Mon Chéri, Ferrero Küsschen, Confetteria Raffaello and the Ferrero Prestige line, which comprises three different brands of pralines: Ferrero Rocher, Ferrero Rondnoir, and Garden Coco.
Ferrero's Kinder brand line of chocolate products include Kinder Surprise, Kinder Joy, Kinder Chocolate, Kinder Happy Hippo, Kinder Maxi, Kinder Duplo, Kinder Country, Kinder Délice, and Kinder Bueno.
Ferrero has been producing Thorntons products since the company acquired the British chocolate retailer in June 2015 for £112 million. The company also produces Tic Tac candy, available in mint, cinnamon, and fruit flavors, along with sugar free versions. Other Ferrero products include Giotto, Fiesta Ferrero, Hanuta chocolate hazelnut-filled wafers and Gran Soleil frozen desserts, which won the company an innovation award in March 2011.
In 1983, the Ferrero Foundation was established in Alba, Piedmont at the wish of Michele Ferrero. The foundation promotes activities in the areas of art, science, history and literature by organizing conventions, conferences, seminars and exhibitions. It also offers health and social assistance to ex-employees of the group for at least 25 years.