Jif® Chocolate flavored Hazelnut Spread, Flavor Review

Jif Chocolate flavored Hazelnut Spread

Flavor Chemists copy successful food & beverage products on the market. For a budding young Flavor Chemist, this is fun and rewarding. As our career moves forward, we want to improve on successful products. Jif’s®Chocolate Flavored Hazelnut Spread is an attempt to improve on the already popular Nutella® Hazelnut Spread with Skim Milk & Cocoa. Improve, because Jif® has natural flavors; as opposed to artificial flavors in Nutella®. We want all natural food products. Jif® Chocolate flavored Hazelnut Spread is a failed flavor matching attempt and pales in comparison to Nutella®. Making artificial flavors into natural flavors can be extremely challenging.

Both hazelnut spreads contain similar ingredients: sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, lecithin and flavors. Jif® lists natural flavors and Nutella® lists vanillin(artificial) and artificial flavors. Jif® is bumpy; the flavor notes come out in “spurts”: green hazelnut up front, oily flavor, chocolately notes and a bitter aftertaste. Nutella® is smooth, sweet and full.  It tastes like roasted hazelnuts blended with chocolate coated milk caramels. I prefer Nutella® and so does my family.  In 3 days, we have eaten over half of the 13 oz jar.

Hazelnuts are grown in Italy, home of Ferrero, and also in the Pacific Northwest. I have a hazelnut tree in my yard with green hazelnuts on it. The characterizing aroma component of hazelnut: 5-Methyl 2 hepten-4-one has been isolated and is available for flavor chemists to use in both natural and artificial forms. This component, also termed Filbertone®, is VERY powerful. It is green, creamy, nutty and slightly metallic. A flavor chemist has to be extremely careful with the level of Filbertone® they use in flavors, sometimes less than 1 ppm.  The roasted note in hazelnut: 3(5,6) Methoxy 2 methyl pyrazine has not been isolated naturally…yet. I suspect that this and the lack of vanillin (a creamy vanilla note) contributes to the difference in the flavor profile of these two hazelnut spreads.

some green Hazelnuts

My backyard Hazelnut tree












The big question for us moms is the nutritional value of these products? I compared Jif® Hazelnut, Nutella®, Peanut butter and Peanut Butter & Co. Dark Chocolate Dreams: peanut butter blended with rich dark cocoa:

Chocolate Nut spreads

Jif Hazelnut Nutella Peanut &Chocolate Peanut Butter
Serving Size 38 gm 37 gm 32 gm 32 gm
Calories 230 cal 200 cal 170 cal 190 cal
Calories fr. Fat 120 cal 100 cal 110 cal 140 cal
Sodium 40 mg 15 mg 35 mg 150 mg
Sugar 21 gm 21 gm 7 gm 3 gm
Protein 2 gm 3 gm 6 gm 7 gm

Jif® and Nutella® have similar nutritional profiles. This mom thinks peanut butter is the superior nutritional choice (low sugar/high protein).  I love peanut butter, but did not enjoy Chocolate dreams Peanut butter blended with dark chocolate. If they increased the amount of salt in their product, it would not be healthier, but it would taste great. Currently, it tastes too oily and “it’s gotta taste good”.

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