Sometimes you feel like a Nutella, sometimes you don’t
Although I am a complete and utter chocaholic, I’m not much of a Nutella fan. Maybe it’s that it’s too hazel-nutty, and not chocolate-y enough for my liking. Maybe, like James Bond’s shaken-not-stirred martini preference, I prefer my chocolate liquid (e.g., Hershey’s syrup) or solid (almost any chocolate candy), not in the netherworld of a “spread” that Nutella represents.
Yet I am fully aware that there are many Nutella aficionados, and have been since I was in grad school at Columbia in the 1970’s and I was introduced to this treat by an Italian-American classmate. I found Nutella sort of weird then, and I find it sort of weird now, when in Rome a few weeks ago it was snapped up in the grocery store by my Nutella-fan nieces.
So on Nutella I’m ‘meh’. To me, it’s just not peanut butter, and I will accept no substitutes…
But I do recognize that it has made enough of an inroad into the U.S. market that there are TV ads for it.
One of which prompted a choosey mother to choose to mount a class-action suit against Nutella, which was launched last year.
In her complaint, the mother says she was as "shocked to learn" from her friends "that Nutella was in fact not a 'healthy,' 'nutritious' food," as advertised, "but was instead the next best thing to a candy bar." (Source: The Consumerist.)
Well shocked, I’m shocked that there’s bad nutrition going on here…
In ads that for the spread that the suit calls "misleading," Nutella is said to be part of a "tasty yet balanced breakfast." The mother claims Nutella "contains dangerous levels of saturated fat," and "over 55% processed sugar." These ingredients, "significantly contribute to America's alarming increase in childhood obesity" and can cause type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other "serious health problems," the suit claims.
Guess there are no Lucky Charms getting served up, breakfast-wise, in her house.
But I don’t exactly see that Nutella has actually claimed to be nutritious. Okay, they may not be exactly forthright, but so what if they’re positioning their product as the “tasty” part of a “yet balanced” breakfast? Couldn’t choosey mom have figured this out for herself by sticking her finger in a jar of Nutella and tasting it for herself? Or, better yet, taken a look at the nutrition info on the jar and seen that, when it comes to nutrition, Nutella is no peanut butter.
My, oh my, we are a litigious society, aren’t we? This doesn’t quite rise to the level of the guy who sued his dry cleaner for millions when they damaged his clothing. Or the guy who sued for millions over a botched BMW paint job. Still, this one does seem just a tad frivolous.
…the class-action lawsuit has been settled for about $3 million, $2.5 million of which is going to consumers willing to admit that they can't read a nutrition label. (Source: also The Consumerist.)
The premise of the suit is that the ads play too fast and loose with ‘nutrition by association’. From one of the offending ads:
That's why I love Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread that's perfect on multigrain toast and even whole wheat waffles. It's a quick and easy way to give my family a breakfast they'll want to eat. And Nutella is made with simple, quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa.
Caveat emptor! It’s up to you to figure out that, as The Consumerist let us know, a plop of Nutella on that multigrain toast or whole wheat waffle is “comparable to a Three Musketeers candy bar.”
I am pretty sure that there’s at least one Pink Slip reader who has bought Nutella over the last few years. Thus, she may be entitled to participate in the Nutella Consumer Class Action Settlements.
I’m sure the pay-out for an individual will be small. But it might be enough to defray the cost of the next purchase of Nutella.
If it’s ‘meh’ for me, I appreciate that it’s yum for some.