Jif Chocolate Hazelnut and Mocha Cappuccino Hazelnut Spread

Pro tip: You can measure a company’s branding success in two easy steps. I call this test the NOCRUS exam, or the Nutella or Coconut Runoff Usage Simulation. It can be implemented by asking this question: does your product successfully utilize either Nutella-based, i.e., chocolate and hazelnut, or coconut-water/coconut inspired flavoring? If so, it’s likely that it’ll catch on like hotcakes and iPods. If not, it’ll be as successful as hotcake-flavored iPods. Terrible idea. Syrup everywhere. My point is, these two components are the new Jonas Bieber Anistons of the food world and companies everywhere are vying to get in on the action.

In Jif’s case, we have two new heavy hitters in the spread market, Chocolate and Mocha Cappuccino hazelnut-based spread. Both flavors are smooth and creamy, almost pudding-like and thick in texture. Of the two, the chocolate hazelnut is definitely the more classic example. It’s less muted in scent than Nutella (I had a jar on hand- strictly for comparative purposes) and has a stronger, more cocoa and vanilla-forward flavor. 

As much as it pains me to say it, having been practically weaned on Nutella as an infant, this is superior. It lacks the gummy elasticity of the former, and offers a bolder, less saccharine flavor.

The mocha cappuccino has some issues. Not quite to the level of product abomination parent issues, but just mild stuff. It just wants to talk. Conceptually, it seems like it would work. It follows a correct conditional proof. A, hazelnut, and B, chocolate, go together. B, chocolate, and C, coffee, also go together very well. So it logically follows that A, hazelnut, and C, coffee, go together. Which they do. But unfortunately, you can’t eat logic, and that’s why A, B, and C, together, taste pretty strange. The coffee is the dominant flavor, but hazelnut follows closely behind, unfortunately more reminiscent of coffee flavoring than the plain chocolate flavor. It has a similarly beguiling texture, but falls short of expectations and leaves a bitter taste in your mouth. Not unlike formal logic.

Overall, though, the branding is successful and catchy enough that I could definitely see the original flavor catching on. With Nutella’s various lawsuits and health finger-pointing, as well as its notorious reputation as an ex-pen-seeeef European brand, this might just be the campaign to sway America to the Jif side. And based on the quality and flavor of these products, it’s not a bad side to be on.

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