A hazelnut spread with a cult following is facing backlash online, after a quiet change to their recipe.

Nutella made the recipe change in August, in what the company is calling a “fine-tuning.” But lovers of the spread are outraged.

“They can’t change it, they cannot change Nutella,” Maria Cardarelli, a Nutella fan, told CTV Ottawa on Thursday. “It’s something mama gave us when we were babies for breakfast.”

After examining nutritional labels, a German consumer watchdog said the spread now contains more sugar and skimmed milk powder. They also content it now contains less cocoa, since the revamped Nutella is a brighter shade of brown.

A comparison of the old and new labels shows a 1.2 per cent increase of the skimmed milk powder and a 0.4 per cent increase in sugar.

Ferrero, the Italian company that produces Nutella, Ferrero Rocher and Tic-Tacs, among other products, is under no legal obligation to disclose the amount of cocoa in the product, according to the Hamburg Consumer Protection Centre.

In Ottawa, Nutella’s recipe alterations mean Italian bakeries might have to find an alternative.

“For me, it’s okay as it is now,” Joe Calabro, co-owner of Pasticceria Gelateria Italiana in Ottawa’s Little Italy, told CTV Ottawa. “It’s the borderline of sweetness, so you can have an extra spoon of it. If they go sweeter, then you have to alternate the recipes.”

Fans of the product who think if it isn’t broken, then don’t fix it, have taken to social media to voice their displeasure with the changes and even started the hashtag “#Nutellagate."

With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Claudia Cautillo