The Turkish competition authority opened an investigation into Ferrero and its subsidiaries, Türkiye’s top hazelnut purchaser, over findings that showed the Italian chocolate producer and confectionary giant has violated the country’s competition laws.
A statement by the competition watchdog said that the preliminary investigation showed that Ferrero and its subsidiaries violated the Law on the Protection of Competition in the hazelnut market at the stages of production, purchase, process and export.
Subsequently, the Competition Board, which discussed the information, documents and findings obtained in the preliminary research at its meeting dated Nov. 3, found the findings sufficient to further open an investigation.
Previously, the company’s name came to the fore with the frustration of Turkish hazelnut farmers over the “monopoly” of its Nutella brand.
Turkish farmers picking most of the hazelnuts going into Nutella spreads were complaining of exploitation and meager pay, setting up a clash over labor rights.
Ferrero has six facilities and employs more than 1,000 people in Türkiye, where it has been sourcing hazelnuts across the agriculture-rich country’s northern Black Sea regions for the past 35 years.
In 2014, it acquired Türkiye’s Oltan Group – a local market leader that procures, processes and sells nuts.