Partnering with Confectioner Ferrero

Text by: Michael Hanemaayer


It’s not just Nutella that has been brought to Ontario. It’s also an opportunity for an explosion in hazelnut farming in the province.

Ferrero has a modernized plant in Brantford, Ont., which was built in 2006, where products such as Nutella, Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher are created for places within North America, and exported all the way to Australia.

Since hazelnuts are a critical ingredient for their products, Ferrero has been looking to start growing larger crops of hazelnuts (than currently exist) here in Ontario, to have a location close to the plant where their products are being created.

In an effort to determine the best location for hazelnuts in the growing areas around the plant, Ferrero wanted to compile a database outlining which regions are the best candidates and what effects from climate change they could expect in those regions.

Enter Niagara College, who Ferrero partnered with to collect a massive amount of historical growing data on the surrounding areas to determine the best location for growing a large amount of hazelnuts – 20,000 acres, in fact, is Ferrero’s goal.

The information, gathered by environmental/farm sensors and other forms of data collection, has been analyzed by the Niagara College research team, and compiled into a database, which will be used to predict the future climate changes and growth sustainability of the trees for potential hazelnut farmers.

The data collection done by both Ferrero and Niagara College also resulted in the co-creation of the software that will help to predict the changes that might occur as a result of climate change.  

This research project was made possible by funding from Ontario Centres of Excellence College Strategic Sector/Cluster/Technology Platform (CSSCTP) program.

To learn more about the work of the Agriculture & Environmental Technologies division, visit the web page.