Chocolate magnateMichele Ferrero

A candy maker, Ferrero took over the company his father had built, and turned it into a world-wide powerhouse. It not only makes Tic Tac mints, Ferrero-Rocher candies, and Kinder snacks, but Ferrero adapted a confection invented by his father after World War II, when chocolate was still scarce. To stretch supplies, company founder Pietro Ferrero stretched supplies by mixing cocoa into hazelnuts, which were plentiful. The result was “Pasta Gianduja”, introduced in 1946 and sold in a loaf. After Michele Ferrero took over the company, he thought the concoction would work better as a spread. He also gave it a new name: Nutella. It sells like crazy: a quarter of all hazelnuts grown worldwide are made into Nutella; there are about 50 in each jar. Ferrero became the richest man in Italy, and (depending on the source consulted) the 20th or 22nd richest man in the world, worth around US$26.5 billion. Appropriately, perhaps, the chocolatier died on Valentine’s Day — February 14 — at his home in Monte Carlo. He was 89.

From This is True for 15 February 2015