Remember last year, when various media outlets reported that the mother of a four-year-old child was suing the makers of Nutella for advertising it as a health food? Everyone thought that this was hilarious, because hey, lady, fat-laden choco-paste ain’t a health food. It’s time for us all to stop laughing now, because 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.
We like to assume that our readers are smarter than that. But if you’re one of those shameless individuals and you bought Nutella between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012, (August 1, 2009 AND January 23, 2012 if you live in California) you can file a claim and join the class action.
Court documents include some of the offending ads, like this spot:
[DOG BARKING, BOY YELLING]: Mom!
[MOM]: Breakfast? In this house? In the morning, I can use all the help I can get. 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. They love the taste, and I feel good that they’re ready to tackle the day. Nutella–breakfast never tasted this good.
The complaint is that this ad and others like it play up the healthiness of the breakfast those adorable kids are eating, while neglecting to mention that the few tablespoons of Nutella on their toast contains 200 calories, 11 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated), and 21 grams of sugar. That’s comparable to a Three Musketeers candy bar.
So, okay, it’s bad for you, but who’s pretending it’s a health food? The initial complaint said:
In Nutella’s marketing and advertising, Defendant omits that the nutritional value claimed, if any, is not derived from Nutella, but is instead derived from other foods or drinks (e.g., whole grain breads, fruit and milk) which are advertised to be consumed along with Nutella.
Defendant’s claims regarding Nutella are also false and misleading because they omit that Nutella contains over 55% processed sugar, the consumption of which has been shown to cause type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems.
So is a waffle with a little Nutella on it better or worse than a bowl of Chocolate Frosted Sugar Bombs? Use delicious things in moderation, read a nutrition label once in a while, and let’s all make some nice crepes for breakfast.
Nutella Consumer Class Action Settlements [Official Site] (Thanks, Justin!)