The biscuits were launched in April in France, where Ferrero claims sales are already ‘three times higher than those of the first similar product on the market’.
The company expects a similar pattern in Italy and rolled out the biscuits on supermarket shelves across the country earlier this month.
Alessandro d’Este, CEO of Ferrero Italia, is confident Nutella Biscuits will be also be a best seller there and has predicted sales worth €80m in the first 12 months.
The Italian biscuit market is worth approximately €1.2bn ($1.03bn) and Ferrero is targeting a 5%-8% market share for Nutella Biscuits.
According to Euromonitor, Barilla – the world's largest pasta producer – is also the undisputed leader of the Italian sweet biscuit sector with its Mulino Bianco, Pavesi and Grancereale brands. Ferrero rival Mondelez is also one of the largest players in the food industry in Italy. Both producers are skewing toward offerings that have a healthier nutritional profile, with recent product launches comprising cereals, fibre and whole wheat flour.
A decade of research and a hefty investment
Nutella Biscuits are manufactured in Ferrero’s Balvano plant in the southern Italian region of Basilicata, following a decade of R&D and an investment of more than €120m ($103m) in a state-of-the-art production line.
Nutella has proved wildly popular since it was invented 55 years ago, and is sold in 160 countries around the world, despite controversy over its use of palm oil. However, Ferrero insists it only uses certified, sustainable palm oil, which is kept apart from conventional palm oil throughout the supply chain.