Giovanni Ferrero Italian Ferrero US Image Credit: Forbes
Giovanni Ferrero Italian Ferrero US Image Credit: Forbes

All You Can Eat

After inheriting his family’s $13 billion candy empire in 2015, Giovanni Ferrero vowed to supersize it—at any cost. He devoured iconic brands like red hots, Butterfinger, Babyruth and Nestlé crunch, and he’s not done yet. But will his gluttony lead to a meltdown?

Noah Kirsch

On the outskirts of Alba, a cobblestoned Italian city that dates to Roman times, stands a stark modern fortress. Behind 10-foot concrete walls, steel gates and uniformed guards lies not a nuclear facility or an army base but a chocolate factory. This is the hometown plant of Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, Tic Tac, Mon Chéri and Kinder.

Inside, khaki-clad workers monitor hundreds of robotic arms that craft sweets with military precision. Overhead, thousands of cream-filled Kinder bars zip down conveyor belts. Underneath, high-speed cameras scan for imperfections: A tiny flaw in the coating is enough to trigger a puff of air that shoots the offending chocolate offthe line. “We do everything with seriousness and extreme competence,” says Giovanni Ferrero, the firm’s 53-year-old chairman, in his first- ever sit-down with the American press.

That discipline has built an empire. Ferrero sold $12.5 billion worth of sweets last year, and its namesake owners are worth an estimated $31 billion altogether, $21 billion of which belongs to Giovanni, who’s the 47th-richest person in the world. Their success took generations. Founded in 1946 in war-ravaged Italy by Giovanni’s grandfather Pietro, the business expanded through decades of careful growth, with little debt and no acquisitions.

But after a lifetime of working handin-glove with his brother and his father, Giovanni is suddenly alone at the helm. His brother, also named Pietr

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