Green

Rutgers biologist developing revolutionary method to combat global Nutella shortage

77f0f1cb5dc9ce559f5e_image005.jpg
Tom Molnar, a plant biologist at Rutgers University Credits: Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University
77f0f1cb5dc9ce559f5e_image005.jpg

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - For most of us, Nutella is one finer points in life, and the fact that there’s a growing shortage of the global Nutella supply might came as disturbing news to some.

The growing popularity of the creamy hazelnut and cocoa spread in recent years has driven up demand for the hazelnut, far more than the world can supply.

But help is on the way, thanks to some innovative plant and agricultural science from Rutgers biologist Tom Molnar.

Sign Up for E-News

“The demand for hazelnuts is so high that there is no surplus of nuts produced, and that makes companies very nervous,” said Molnar, who heads the hazelnut tree breeding program at the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station.

Part of the reason the hazelnut is in such short supply is the limited regions at which the tree can grow, according to Molnar. Most sold commercially are grown in Turkey and the Wilmete Valley of Oregon.

Yet Molnar and his team have developed a breed of hazelnut which can be commercially mass produced in New Jersey and the northeast United States.

Molnar’s research, now 20 years in the making, is revolutionary in that the tree is resistant to the eastern filbert blight fungus, which until now was the biggest obstacle to growing the hazelnut in the northeast, according to university officials.

“We are getting so close to being able to get a new agricultural industry off the ground in New Jersey,” Molnar said.

Ferrero, the Italian company which produces Nutella, has taken note of Molnar's’ research and procured a working relationship with the professor since 2008. Twice a year, company officials visit the Rutgers research plots for updates on the work.

"We have been carefully observing the progress of the program managed by Professor Molnar and we strongly believe in his plans and results," said Michele Pisetta, a manager of sustainability at Ferrero. "At Ferrero, we hope the development of new varieties Professor Molnar is working on will be successful and open new areas for planting hazelnut worldwide."

Annually, production of Nutella and other Ferrero projects uses up about 25 percent, or 100,000 tons, of the world’s supply of hazelnut.

To develop this new hazelnut crop, Molnar and his team traveled throughout Eastern Europe, Central Asia and the Crimea in search of a plant that could survive in cooler climates and be disease resistant.

The process involved thousands upon thousands of crossbreeding combinations until they came up with the right variety. Rutgers also had some help from Oregon State University, which provided Rutgers with pollen from its own research program.

Rutgers’ hazelnut breeding program was launched by C. Reed Funk, a researcher who also developed more resilient varieties of turf grass at the university. The turf was used by Yankee Stadium and the National Mall in Washington, D.C., earning millions for the university.

Some of the $60 million the turf brought to Rutgers was used towards hazelnut research, according to university officials.

Currently, Molnar is aiming to get the new hazelnut tree released within the next two or three years. If all goes well, then within a few years, the next nutella jar you buy could be locally grown right here in the Garden State.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

East Hanover/Florham Park

Hanover Park Wrestlers Place First at Districts

February 18, 2018

EAST HANOVER, N.J.- Congratulations to Hanover Park Wrestlers for taking first place in the districts. Eight hornets took first place;

Joey Olivieri 
Jake Bursese 
Dom Merola
Dom DiFrancescantonio 
Nicky Raimo
Mike rubin
Sean Conley
Matt Liberato 

Dan Jiminez placed second, Nick Zarra  and Sebastian Bassolino both placed third. Next up for ...

EarthCam Shares Live Webcam Views of Seaside Heights Polar Bear Plunge

February 23, 2018

TAPintoTravels - If you saw our article, you know about the Polar Bear Plunge this Saturday to support the Special Olympics.  If you cannot be there, but want to see the festivities, this press release tells you how you can.

WHAT: Tomorrow, February 24 from 9am-1pm ET, thousands of people will make a mad dash into the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean just off the ...

Travel Spotlight - Another Holiday, Another Encounter with Marine Life along Jersey Shore

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

Decades Rewind Returns to the Jersey Shore

Decades Rewind transports their audience to the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s!!

RED BANK, N.J.- Returning to the Count Basie Theatre, Friday, March 9th, 2018 Decades Rewind, the national touring concert, dance party and theatrical performance all wrapped up in one blockbuster, high energy show, celebrates the hits of the 60’s, 70’s and ...

Travels Spotlight - Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

TAPintoTravels is here to promote travel whether it is for work or pleasure.  Most of our reporting is fun and helpful.  However on rare occasions, we do have to report on heart breaking stories.  It is always hardest when it involves men with families that have been lost at sea.  Please consider assisting this family in need and keep them in your thoughts or ...

Travel to Belmar for Chance Glimpse of an Adorable Baby Seal

TAPintoTravels — All eyes will be on everyone’s favorite groundhog today, but it was a baby seal that stole the spotlight yesterday at the Belmar marina.

During the morning of February 1, borough public works employees were working at the marina’s boat ramp when they noticed the gray pup sitting on the jet-ski dock, said Ed Markey, who works in the department and also ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Upcoming Events

Mon, February 26, 1:30 PM

Livingston Public Library, Livingston

Monday at the Movies: WILD OATS

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, February 28, 7:00 PM

Pinot's Palette, Morristown

Paint & Sip Fundraiser

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, February 28, 7:00 PM

Pinot's Palette, Morristown

Paint & Sip Fundraiser

Arts & Entertainment

Hanover Park's Willa Roberts Named One of Mayo Performing Arts Center Students of the Month

February 22, 2018

MORRISTOWN, N.J. - Students from Randolph, Morristown, Kinnelon, Madison, East Hanover and Chatham were honored as Mayo Performing Arts Center's Music Students of the Month - Outstanding Orchestra Members -- prior to the Thursday, February 15 performance of by the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

The students were recognized for their achievements on stage prior to the concert and had the ...

Free Cardiac and Concussion Screenings for Young Athletes

February 23, 2018

WEST ORANGE, NJ — The Matthew J. Morahan III Health Assessment Center for Athletes (MJM) at RWJBarnabas Health will provide free cardiac and concussion baseline screenings to young athletes on Saturday, March 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at South Mountain Recreation Complex, Codey Arena, 560 Northfield Avenue, West Orange, NJ.

When preliminary testing to identify serious cardiac ...