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Woman suing Nutella over false nutrition claims


"The suit, filed in federal court in San Diego, alleges that many consumers of the product would not have purchased it had they been aware that the health claims surrounding it were overblown."

right, because they couldn't just READ THE LABEL on the jar to figure that one out. truly mind-boggling.

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  1. Oh for the love of labels...this has merit in a court of law? Give me a break.
    Someone buy this lovely lady A PAIR OF EYEGLASSES...and leave us to enjoy our nut spread!

    2 Replies
    1. re: HillJ

      Any knucklehead can file a suit. Filing doesn't equal merit. If you can afford the filing fee you can bring any lawsuit you want (there may be consequences later if you're just jerking people around).

      1. re: ferret

        ferret, I was being completely sarcastic. Jerks don't deserve Nutella...more for us.

    2. I don't agree w/ the lawsuit but think the commercials are misleading. "Part of a nutritious breakfast"??? I wonder if the woman similarly bought a Highlander so she could be the cool mom and not lame. She could sue Toyota when it doesn't come true,

      82 Replies
      1. re: chowser

        I agree it's misleading when you have a mom actress saying how pleased she is her kids are getting a nutritious breakfast with a slice of white cardboard bread, some chemical fake butter and a dollop of chocolate with a hint of hazelnut and HFCS. Of course people should read labels and make their own choices but I guess there's some nutrition in that breakfast and it's so easy to file a lawsuit and make headlines.

        1. re: smartie

          Just to get things accurate, I did look at the label last night, and there is no HFCS in Nutella -- just good old sugar.

          1. re: Bob W

            "I've been told" by a couple of company customer service people that if the list of food on the back of the product includes 'sugar,' it is beet sugar. If it says, 'cane sugar,' then it is, of course, cane sugar.

            1. re: Rella

              So what is the difference? A carb is a carb when it comes to sugar, right? Or am I mistaken - that has been known to happen.

              1. re: kprange

                There's a very (very) slight difference between beet and cane sugar. Cane sugar is considered superior for baking. A few places I read that tested identical recipes using the two types of sugar found that cane sugar consistently yielded better results. Something having to do with the slight differences in trace protein and mineral content, since sugar isn't 100% pure sugar (like water isn't 100% pure H2O).

                As for a carb being a carb, no, that's not thought to be the case. All grams of CHO are not created equal. The sugar dimers are broken down by different enzymes, and sugar monomers are absorbed by different transporters. Lastly, how those sugars are packaged - starch, fructose, or glycogen, for example, combined with what's with them - lots of fiber, lots of protein, or nothing, like just a sugar bomb - will affect what the final destination might be - taken up by muscles, used for immediate energy (as glucose is by the brain), or packaged into fat.

                It's a complicated picture that physiologists are just beginning to understand.

        2. re: chowser

          Didn't Dannon get in trouble for claiming yogurt equates with living well into your 90's. I love my (Greek) yogurt-long life or not. Plenty off claims out there to go around. btw-that Highlander commercial says more about parents than it does about the car :)

          1. re: chowser

            Butter can be part of a nutritious breakfast if a small quantity is used on multigrain bread with a piece of fruit and maybe a piece of cheese or a boiled egg. Sitting down to a stick of butter, not so much.

            "part of".... means just that really. It fits in there, but is not THE breakfast.

            1. re: im_nomad

              Twinkies can be part of a nutritious breakfast in that case. Is there anything that wouldn't fit?

              1. re: chowser

                Chocolate and hazelnuts both have many health benefits. Peanut butter and strawberry jam can be part of a nutritious breakfast. And both, if eaten by the jar full, can make you obese. It's not rocket science. The lawsuit is idiotic.

                1. re: foreverhungry

                  If you ate enough Nutella to get the nutritional value from cocoa solids and hazelnuts in Nutella, you'd be eating far too much of it and it would be a health concern. The first two ingredients are sugar and palm oil--not equivalent to pb and jelly, unless you're buying overly processed versions of both. I said I didn't agree w/ the lawsuit. I just think the implication that it's healthy is misleading. At least, it is to me. You can consider it healthy because of the cocoa and hazelnuts but I don't think it is.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I'm not saying Nutella is a "healthy food", whatever that means. Better for you - in moderation - than Twinkies? Probably. Again, if Nutella is spread on whole wheat toast, along with some fruit thing on the side for breakfast, sure, it's "part of a healthy breakfast". Not too different from the total fat, sugar, and total calories you'd get from PB&J or jelly and a tablespoon of butter on toast. And I'd consider those part of a healthy breakfast - when done in moderation and using common sense. I think there's a difference between "healthy" and "part of a healthy breakfast". On it's own, or spread by the cup full on white bread, no, it's terrible. But in moderation, as a part of a breakfast or snack, that includes other foods, yeah, no problem.

                    My basis for this is family in France that I'd visit on a regular basis, that had Nutella on bread for either breakfast or as an afternoon snack, for as long as I remember. While obviously not a scientific sample, they are all very fit and healthy. A tablespoon or two worked well for them. As a part of a healthy breakfast. Again, it's not rocket science.

                    1. re: foreverhungry

                      let's not forget our Dutch chowhounds, who sprinkle chocolate on their bread and call it breakfast. Gotta love that!

                      I just saw a commercial for Nutella on tv this evening and listened really hard to the voice over message and heard no health claims that cross the line. None.
                      Followed by a commercial for a new product, mini Reese pb cups (unwrapped) to use in baking (like chips)! http://www.hersheys.com/reeses/produc...

                      1. re: HillJ

                        Maybe they've gotten enough flak for their commercial that they'd removed it. Even sugar sprinkled on bread can be "part of a healthy breakfast" and that's essentially what Nutella is. I like Nutella but appreciate it for what it is--junk food. It amazes me that people defend it as anything other than such. If that's the case, the woman in the court case is completely wrong in saying it's not good for you and everyone in this thread who talks about her being stupid in not knowing it is wrong.





                        1. re: HillJ

                          "Individually wrapped miniature cups, perfect for baking, guests, or adding to your foil collection."

                          Now that is a lawsuit waiting to happen: The advertisement does not mention the need to unwrap them ;)

                          1. re: hala

                            ha! think of the enterprising men & women just taking notes as we make fun.
                            it's a jungle out there in happy food land!

                          2. re: HillJ

                            Italians spread Nutella on bread for breakfast as well. I used to spend a few weeks in Italy during the summertime each year as a child and became addicted. I also love to eat it on those little hard toasts you get at specialty markets and on toasted bread slices by a company called Bimbo. It's just so darn good!

                            1. re: Saluti

                              My husband enjoyed his Nutella spread on french toast this morning. I'm partial to banana & nutella crepes.

                          3. re: foreverhungry

                            As I've said before I'm not saying Twinkies are the nutritional equivalent of Nutella. Neither are healthy but is a tablespoon of a Twinkie with fruit, yogurt, egg, bread can also be part of a healthy breakfast. It's all about moderation and anything, in a tablespoon or two, can be part of one. Neither add much nutritionally positive to your meal, not rocket science.

                            1. re: chowser

                              I think that this does bring about an interesting question - what constitutes a healthy breakfast? And, are calories from sugar and fat bad for you? To the first question, I'd say that a healthy breakfast serves 2 important purposes: 1) getting a wide complements of nutrients your body needs into you; and 2) getting *some* calories into you, *some* being a different proportion for different folks.

                              Let's face it, most folks don't want to eat dry whole wheat toast, and nor is that necessarily a good breakfast, even if accompanied with a grapefruit. You need some calories from fat, and some calories from a simple carb that will be processed quick - especially important for the first meal of the day. Does 1 T of nutella contribute to that? Yeah, it does. Does Nutella contribute nutritionally?m Yeah, in that you need calories, and you need some fat and carb. Again, can Nutella be a part of nutritious breakfast? Yes, it can.

                              If we start knocking stuff out for it's sugar and fat content, then soon every food gets black balled. "Part of" doesn't equate "only", and that's where some folks make the mistake. I hear ya chowser, but we can agree to disagree on whether Nutella is junk food. I don't think it is. I'm not saying I think it's a health food, but then again, I don't think strawberry jam is a health food. But I wouldn't call that a junk food either.

                              1. re: foreverhungry

                                All I need for breakfast is fat, protein and coffee. Last thing in the world I need in the late morning is a sugar spike followed by a trough.

                                1. re: foreverhungry

                                  Yep, which is why I put Twinkies there, too. There are foods that help others go down more easily, a spoonful of sugar and all that, but that doesn't mean it adds much nutritionally to the meal. If you took out "Nutella" and put in "Twinkie", your post would still work the same way. I think of junk food as food that is fairly nutritionally void for the amount of calories/sugar/fat and that would be Nutella. That's the subject of the whole thread actually--the woman suing because she says it is junk food. If it is not junk food as you claim, she has no claim. Many foods contribute calories and fat and carbs but that doesn't make them nutritious. I honestly can't believe I'm having a discussion on how healthy basically a candy spread is. It's about the same as a Snickers bar.

                                  1. re: chowser

                                    Yeah, let's get back to the part about it being delicious and yummy. I can think of about 20 ways to use Nutella in a recipe that will make my friends and family very happy. I think someone should show up at the courthouse with a plate of Nutella brownies and make a peace offering. Any volunteers?

                                    1. re: HillJ

                                      I want to follow this lawsuit and see what happens. If it goes in favor of the woman, I might be tempted to buy a thighmaster and sue Suzanne Sommers because my thighs will NEVER look like hers!

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Well I've eaten enough Dannon yogurt over the course of my life to "guarantee" a span of 100 plus years...where do I sign ? Ha!

                                        1. re: chowser

                                          Ferrero settled - they're paying out $3 million and discontinuing the use of any "healthy food" claims in relation to Nutella...so go buy that Thighmaster!


                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                            Shoppers who bought Nutella between Jan. 1, 2008, and Feb. 3, 2012 (Aug. 1, 2009, and Jan. 23, 2012 if you live in California) can file a claim and join the class action, according to the the official notice from the company.


                                            Or, join the crazy arse class action, get your $20.00 check and then buy a Thighmaster with the cash. https://nutellaclassactionsettlement....

                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              Ridiculous...is this really the litigious nature of US society?

                                              1. re: freia

                                                i'm waiting for someone to sue Kellogg's because they saw "baked with real fruit" on the Strawberry Pop-Tarts box, assumed it was health food, and gave one to their kid for breakfast every day for a year.

                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                    they're killing me with all these "Supertaster" columns in video format. i wish Chow would at least post a text option to go along with them!

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      A number of members have asked for transcripts but so far I haven't seen this addressed or offered.

                                                    2. re: HillJ

                                                      I loved the, "Well, it's Nutella, it's damned delicious." If only Nutella had stuck with that premise, it wouldn't have been out $3,000,000. In reality, no one cares if it's part of a healthy breakfast. it's like saying a beer is part of a healthy dinner--no one cares, just give us the beer even if it is bad for us. But, I also think it's wrong for a company to be able to claim anything they want and get away with it so I'm glad someone called them on it. I'll pass on the class action suit but I do have two large Costco size jars of it in my kitchen. Because it's damned delicious...

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Oy, it's not that I don't agree with everything you said, chowser. I do. And I just celebrated this morning by baking a bunch of peanut butter, Nutella, oatmeal cookies for the gang her in Cali. But god help me label reading is on all of us. Read the label good people, read. That's all I'm saying.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          for the gang her in Cali
                                                          wait, what are you doing in California?

                                                          1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                            working, working on the bnb, attending a wedding, family visits. and eating my little heart out. i'm seriously thinking of moving here half the year. would be easier on my life.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              you need to send me your B&B info because i'm FINALLY moving back to CA in July :)

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                No kidding.
                                                                Santa B? LA? Good for you!

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  LA. i can't wait. this has been an unbelievably taxing 9 months - i was only supposed to be here for 6 weeks!

                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                    Well, ghg when you land, you find me here. Ok. You find me.

                                                          2. re: HillJ

                                                            Read the label, people (which assumes everyone is literate in English), and stop lying, corporations. I'm finding reading the label is much harder these days and my poor parents can't make out any of it. How far can a company go in stretching the truth/lying? Anything goes? "Smoke cigarettes. It'll make you thinner. And being thinner is healthier." Acceptable? If a company advertises its product as "beef" and it turns out to be dog meat, and the label says so, is that okay? I'm behind companies adhering to truth in advertising. The onus shouldn't be all on the consumer.

                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              i happen to agree with you that there should be more truth in advertising as a rule. however, the suit said that consumers wouldn't have bought it if they had been aware that the health claims surrounding it were overblown, and i have two issues with that. 1) i can't swallow the idea that saying Nutella can be *part* of a balanced breakfast qualifies as an "overblown health claim" - it's not like the Nutella ads told people if they ate it they'd live to be 100 years old or achieve optimal health. 2) this woman *is* clearly literate in English. so if she had only *read the label* she could have seen for herself that the stuff isn't health food. you don't need an advanced degree to figure out that when sugar & oil are the first two ingredients on the package it's probably not the most nutritious food.

                                                              as far as the eyesight thing goes, the Nutella label is pretty easy to read:

                                                              i'm not trying to be argumentative, you & i are basically in agreement on the overall premise. but i wish consumers would take more responsibility for their own health & decisions, and i'd rather see companies being sued for flat-out lies or undisclosed ingredients than for inflated claims that are transparent to anyone who takes the time to THINK about them for a minute.

                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                chowser, I'm not looking for arguments either but I am clearly in agreement with ghg for all the reasons she stated. And, the company is offering $5.00 checks for each jar consumers bought up to five jars in this class action suit. Anyone who fills out the form by a specific date can claim a refund without proving they even bought a jar. But (god help me) the lawyers will get paid much bigger bucks and at the end of the day I truly believe companies like Nutella don't wish to do harm, consumers can sue for all sorts of things that class action lawyers will take on and lawyers are the ones who make out on crazy arse settlements like these. This lawsuit will not prevent me or anyone I know from enjoying Nutella. It won't stop me from questioning what harm actually came to the woman who started this suit and it only cements my disbelief at the law. Laws for the most part help all of us but the law is also not perfect.

                                                            2. re: HillJ

                                                              HillJ, I want that recipe please... =)

                                                              1. re: thursday

                                                                thursday, which recipe? lol...I've lost track of this sidebar discussion :)

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  i'm guessing the PB/Nutella/oatmeal cookies...

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      Yup, that one. =) Thanks, ghg and HillJ - looking forward to letting out my pants a few notches after this one.

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  HillJ, I have an incredible Nutella cookie recipe I'll send to you!

                                                  1. re: FoodChic

                                                    Thanks FoodChic, post it in HC Board on this thread so we can all enjoy it!

                                                2. re: chowser

                                                  So where do you put peanut butter and strawberry jam. Because when it boils down to it, they're not too different than Nutella. Take 1 T of peanut butter, 1 T of fruit jam, and you have the nutritional equivalent of Nutella. Is someone going to claim that a T of each equals junk food?

                                                  I'm not saying that anything that has fat and carbs is nutritious. But someone made the claim that Nutella is nutritionally devoid, and I don't think that's accurate. That's like claiming strawberry jam is nutritionally devoid, but I don't see anyone suing Smucker's. Is jam a candy spread?

                                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                                    Let's see btwn grade school lunches, after school snacks, camping sacks, midnight munchies and street fairs I would rate the PB&J sandwich KING.

                                      2. re: chowser

                                        A Twinkie vs a tablespoon of Nutella ? I see a difference.

                                        1. re: im_nomad

                                          hmmm, Nutella filled Twinkies! Must experiment with homemade sponge cake...

                                          1. re: HillJ

                                            here's a simpler place to start...though i'd definitely increase the thickness of the Nutella filling ;)


                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                              isn't it a blast to reach out and there it is!
                                              I think some fresh bananas slices or even mango spears may be in order.
                                              (keep it healthy!)

                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                  even better, forget the swiss roll & do a layer cake...and alternate layers of white & dark chocolate pistachio butter for the filling :)

                                                  i can't keep that stuff in the house. it's deadly.

                                              1. re: im_nomad

                                                Yeah, cheese, butter and eggs all contain nutrients essential for human health and almost zero health destroying sugars. Twinkies not so much.

                                                There's nothing unhealthy about the fat levels in Nutella, either, but yowser to the sugar.

                                                1. re: im_nomad

                                                  I'm not saying it's the same thing. The first ingredient in Nutella is sugar, the second is palm oil. I classify it as junk food in our house, something to have in moderation. Both are junk, to have in moderation; not the same thing, not equivalent, just in the same category.

                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                    I agree both are junk. Not that nut butter with cocoa is a bad thing, IMO. :-)

                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                      No--I'd love a good nut butter w/ cocoa. Does anyone make a good nut butter w/ dark chocolate?

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        Reading all the labels from brands that are decent, I've concluded that it's better to make it at home. But this is one I've tried recently; still too sweet for me, but only 1/3 the sugar of Nutella, frex. http://www.justinsnutbutter.com/produ... I haven't tasted these, but the chocolate almond is lower sugar, too: http://www.futtersnutbutters.com/nutr...

                                                        Here's one person's home recipe, though I wouldn't use sugar or agave, some might not mind them: http://thechiclife.com/2010/03/make-y...

                                                        I have an occasional TBS of Justin's choc/almond as a snack. Some folks worry about perceived health concerns wrt fats, but I focus on minimizing hydrogenated fats, sugars and carbs.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          I don't like it too sweet, either. It's a good idea to make my own but it's not that different from my dipping my dark chocolate into my favorite peanut butter. Chocolate covered almonds are good, too. I do the same--don't worry too much about the overall fat content, especially for something I eat such small amounts of anyway.

                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                            Justins Nut Butters are very tasty and the chocolate-nut vers. are not as sweet like Nutella. Smitten Kitchen has a peanut-dark chocolate spread on her site that was a bit hit among her readers if you're looking for a recipe.

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Thanks--those sounds great. Maybe I'll have them as part of a nutritious breakfast.

                                                              1. re: chowser

                                                                yeah, the breakfast of champions! that's what we're calling Nutella around here as of today. :o)

                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                  I'm wondering if I can get Nutella to sponsor me in my upcoming half marathon--I'll use it instead of gel packs. The sad thing is, I'm now seriously considering it, even if they don't sponsor me. It's about 100 calories per pack, just about right.

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    hey, with all this -/+ press you might be just the athlete they're looking for!
                                                                    Go chowser!

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      "Nutella--part of a healthy lifestyle." I need to get back into marketing!

                                                      2. re: chowser

                                                        Yeah, I'd look at it as being in the jam / jelly category, I'm not toting it as a health food. It's more about what to believe from a commercial.

                                                      3. re: im_nomad

                                                        Yes, I did too. Forgive me if someone mentions this later (I've not finished reading this whole thread) but one twinkie has 0 fiber, 0 calcium, and only 4% of daily iron. A serving of Nutella by comparison has 8% of daily fiber, 4% of calcium and 9% of iron. When I first saw this commercial, I thought 'smart' - Nutella is painting the picture that moms can reach for that instead of peanut butter or sugar cereal when they are on that aisle - even though it's full of sugar itself. I've never bought Nutella, but I have an underweight kid and wouldn't dismiss the idea if I could get more calories in him on a piece of whole grain bread. Probably the same sugar as his PB & J. This mom is just jumping on the litigious bandwagon. How did she figure out that Nutella was full of sugar after she bought it? By reading the label - something she should have done before she bought it. Which she probably did anyway, and saw opportunity knocking. I'm all for truth in advertising, but it's getting to the point where the nutrition is going to have to be in idiot's terms on the front of packages because our society is becoming both increasingly helpless and litigious - not a good combination.

                                                  2. re: chowser

                                                    the ad campaign has always made me cringe because the message is absurd...but it doesn't warrant a frivolous lawsuit. it disgusts me that people waste the judicial system's time and taxpayers' money with crap like this. and you've gotta love the message she's sending to her children. "Now kids, I don't want you to learn how to be proactive and take responsibility for your own actions and decisions...that's for suckers. The key to success in life is to blame everyone else for your stupidity."

                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                      Let's be honest. This lawsuit is strictly about the money. I'm sure she's not fooled. I don't like the lawsuit, as I said. I think the ad is misleading. This woman probably saw an opportunity to make money and got herself a lawyer. That's why I added the analogy of suing Toyota because buying a Highland didn't make her a cool mom.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        My first thought was that she couldn't take a minute to read the label and do the math, but she could find a lawyer to blame someone else. I think the advertising is misleading in its claims, but that's why the labels are there for us.

                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                          I'd bet you a big ol' jar of Nutella that SHE didn't find a lawyer, the lawyer found her. There are plaintiffs firms that specialize in going after food companies for "misleading" claims. The lawyers see the TV commercial, and decide the claim is colorable enough that they won't get sanctions for bringing it. Then they advertise to find a suitable plaintiff (e.g., one with kids, who can prove she bought the product, who could be considered by the court as an appropriate representative of all mothers everywhere who bought the product and fed it to their kids, etc.). Then they sue with their plaintiff, turn it into a class action, impose burdensome discovery costs and PR costs on the company, and get it to settle for several million. The lawyers take home a nice 15-30% of that settlement for doing basically zero work. (Hell, they probably had their paralegals draft the discovery requests.) It's quite a nice racket they've got going.

                                                          1. re: charmedgirl

                                                            Chicken or the egg; same ridiculous claim.
                                                            Now pass me that jar of Nutella, pls :)

                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                              Will Justin's almond chocolate do, or will you be needing all 21 gms of sugar? ;-)

                                                    2. re: chowser

                                                      It can be part of a nutritious breakfast but that is up to the purchaser of the product. The judge should through the case out of court and make the lady pay the other sides costs.

                                                    3. It is amazing though, that people actually think Nutella is nutritious. We were just talking about it last night. My friends were surprised that it wasn't very healthy. just another example of misleading advertising done by companies to get your money.

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: kprange

                                                        kp, don't we all wish deliciousness on a spoon was calorie-free. Wishful thinking has sunk many a diet and the best of intentions. We want our cake and eat it too, yes?

                                                        We share some of the responsibility for what we eat. Advertising has been around long enough for (most) of us to know the diff btwn fun and folly.

                                                        Lawsuits on the other hand have their own motivations.

                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                          Even my 8 yo gets that most commercials just say things to make you want to buy the product. An adman, some 27 yo marketing intern, and a product development team are NOT responsible for the choices I make in life. Would that it were so...

                                                        2. re: kprange

                                                          My husband and I were just talking about this, too. We were also surprised they tried to pimp it as healthy when it so obviously isn't.

                                                          1. re: kprange

                                                            just another example of misleading advertising done by companies to get your money.
                                                            but this shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. marketers have always found ways to get around the expectation of truth in advertising. my problem with lawsuits like this one is that they promote the notion that we shouldn't be responsible for our own choices. the folks at Nutella didn't blindfold her so she couldn't read the label and then put a gun to her head and make her buy the product and force-feed it to her kids.

                                                            1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                              "the folks at Nutella didn't blindfold her so she couldn't read the label and then put a gun to her head and make her buy the product and force-feed it to her kids."

                                                              I hope her kids will sue her for Parental Malpractice for feeding them 21 gms of sugar for breakfast.

                                                              To be fair, with the gov't health authorities once more promoting fat, protein and sodium reduction, folks are going to keep turning to starches and sugars to fill the void, with more of the same results we've gotten since the initial pyramid implementation.

                                                            2. re: kprange

                                                              I think there are people, as in this thread, who see the hazelnut and chocolate and think there are health benefits, even though the amounts are minute.

                                                            3. ghg, so many mind bobbling news reports in a given week. how do we pick?
                                                              i'm off to make a Nutella sandwich in celebration.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. Was this idiot spooning it out of the jar directly into her kid's mouth? Most people probably eat around one tablespoon of the stuff a day. So how much could it do good or bad anyway? Hope the court laughs in her face.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Bob W

                                                                  "Was this idiot spooning it out of the jar directly into her kid's mouth? "

                                                                  Hey, wait, is there another way to eat it?;-)

                                                                2. sugar and fat are unhealthy?!

                                                                  1. As HillJ states, if you had just read the label, all the information is there. You can read it yourself. That's the problem these days, no one wants to take responsibility for the choices that they make in life. They just take the easy way out and blame someone else. McDonald's made me fat, um no...that would be you choosing to eat there all the time and supersizing all your meals. Most schools (I believe) still provide you with a quick nutrition course and introduce you to the food pyramid. Just because you didn't pay attention in class....

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: bdachow

                                                                      No, it really can't be assumed that schools provide nutrition courses. And as to the food pyramid - following that invention of the grain lobby could make a person fat.

                                                                    2. Americans sure do love to sue. I mean, use common sense. Yeah, growing up I often had a leftover piece of Italian bread spread thinly with some nutella. I STILL do that. It's better than a candy bar or some oreos. It's not a health food product, no, but I would give a 1/2 tablespoon or so it to my (metaphoric) kid stirred in some oatmeal (which is delicious), btw).

                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                      1. re: italia84

                                                                        There's no real healthy difference between the bread and Nutella, vs. Oreos or a candy bar. If it comes down to those choices, definitely just go with the one you like the taste of, none of them is health food. Some foods are eaten just for (guilty?) pleasure, not to promote health. We should just be honest with ourselves about eating them. :-)

                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                          Sure there is--the bread that the nutella is on is whole grain and provides fiber. Oreos are oreos. If you want to make a sandwich of oreos on whole grain bread, be my guest, but there's not much difference in nutella in whole grain bread or peanut butter on whole grain bread.

                                                                        2. re: italia84

                                                                          Nutella and OATMEAL !! ... Whoa, this I have to try.

                                                                          1. re: Cheese Boy

                                                                            it's super good; I like to add a little bit of toasted hazelnuts if I have them around. yummmmm

                                                                          2. re: italia84

                                                                            Oh my. Nutella oatmeal. Why did I not think of this?!?! Move over my usual pumpkin oatmeal!

                                                                          3. Oh give it a rest lady!

                                                                            I think she is just to smart for us. Is she playing us for fools? If she had read the label at all she would have clearly seen all the nutritional information.

                                                                            Nothing I can say now will be any different than what has already been stated... I just hope she doesn't waste her time and get counter sued for expenses beyond her bank account.

                                                                            GL to the Hohenberg family... not to win, because they won't... just, not to be RUINED!

                                                                            1. It's true that there's nothing wrong for hazelnut butter on bread for breakfast and if there's a little chocolate mixed in, no big deal. That is totally beside the point though. The issue is context.

                                                                              I was actually thinking about posting a topic here today about two commercials I saw last night back to back: one for pop tart toaster strudels, billing them as a healthy breakfast for kids; the other for nutella, also billing it as a healthy breakfast.

                                                                              parents would be better off hitting their children on the head with a mallet every morning than feeding them a toaster strudel. it's no less conducive to a productive day, and is probably actually healthier because it won't make them obese.

                                                                              in comparison, nutella is health food--but it's still outrageous it to market it to American mothers as a healthy breakfast when people all over this country are dying from too much fat and too many calories. Nutella has more fat and sugar than any child needs in the morning. Worse, it establishes the habit of basically eating dessert for breakfast--a nice way to help set your kid up for a lifetime of terrible food decision making.

                                                                              Some studies project that FIFTY PER CENT of people in America will be diabetic in twenty years.

                                                                              Think about that.

                                                                              i see less and less moral distinction between cigarette companies and these giant food conglomerates. The Nutella campaign is insidious and unconscionable. I agree the woman is stupid if she truly got gulled into eating Nutella because of their patently ludicrous ad campaign. She is a grown up responsible for her own decisions.

                                                                              That does NOT mean Nutella and companies like it shouldn't be held to account. What they are doing is irresponsible, unethical, and in my opinion should be actionable. If knowingly telling people that unhealthy food is healthy isn't willful negligence, what is?

                                                                              17 Replies
                                                                              1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                Whoa. Are there two diff version of the Nutella commercial running on television. The Nutella commerical I watched tonight made no such claims. Nor do I believe the vast majority of humans buying Nutella are equating its deliciousness with any misconceptions of healthy dietary needs each day. So whether you eat Nutella morning, noon or night is up to the individual. OTOH, any one experiencing serious health issues should be consulting their doctor; not the makers of chocolate hazelnut spread. While I can certaintly get behind the premise of responsibility, we consumers are equally responsible for what winds up in our grocery cart. With all due respect, I think your analogy goes a bit too far.

                                                                                1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                  I'll respectfully disagree. I have family in France that I visited on a yearly basis. Nutella on a regular basis for either breakfast or snack. None are obese or diabetic. All eat excellent diets. What, exactly, is Nutella guilty of? Can't people read labels?

                                                                                  Now, pharmaceuticals, that's something different...

                                                                                  1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                    Totally--as I said in my original post, there's nothing wrong with eating Nutella for breakfast. And I completely agree we're all responsible for having a basic understanding of nutrition and applying it to our food choices. And of course, no one becomes diabetic just from eating Nutella.

                                                                                    It may be that there actually are two Nutella commercials out there--the one I saw featured a Mom talking about what a healthy breakfast it makes when spread on whole grain bread. It made claims for its product's healthfulness in very explicit and unmistakable terms.

                                                                                    I was thinking of the book The End of Overeating which convincingly makes the case that fat, sugar, and salt are in fact addictive, and then talks about the process whereby food scientists working for food corporations knowing spend their days trying to pack as much fat, sugar, and salt into their products. It's not that I see NO distinction between cigarette companies and food companies. But they are just as knowingly marketing products that can kill you.

                                                                                    People become obese and may become diabetic when they eat outrageous amounts of fat, sugar, and ultra-refined carbs. And of course, diabetes isn't the only potential complication of obesity.

                                                                                    Nutella is loaded with fat and sugar, and feeding it to kids in the morning is not only a bad choice in terms of their daily nutrition, it is probably the worst, least healthful message a parent can send to their kids about food: Breakfast should taste like dessert.

                                                                                    If you read the book, it's likely you'll be as appalled and infuriated as I was--it's not so much that I think Nutella, alone among other companies, should be held negligent. But I'm starting to feel like, as a whole, there needs to be some legal accountability on the part of the food industry.

                                                                                    1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                      And, consumers have the same responsibility. Armchair quarterbacking on CH isn't going to help people who need dedicated medical advice about serious health issues because medical topics don't fall under CH policy.

                                                                                      I'll be curious (like chowser) to see where if at all this claim leads.

                                                                                      1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                        Frankly, I don't understand why some folks are so adamant that Nutella is a bad choice for breakfast. Here are the numbers:

                                                                                        Nutella - 1 oz serving: total calories = 151, fat = 8g, sugar = 15g, protein = 2g
                                                                                        Peanut Butter - 1 oz serving: total cal = 170, fat = 15g, sugar = 1g, protein = 7g
                                                                                        Strawberry jam - 1 T serving: total cal = 50, fat = 0, sugar = 12g, protein = 0.

                                                                                        I don't think too many folks are going to claim that peanut butter and jam on whole wheat toast is unhealthy. Yet when you look at the numbers, there's little difference between Nutella and PB&J: PB has much more fat than Nutella, and the sugar in the jam makes the 2 about the same. PB has the clear advantage of being high in protein.

                                                                                        But really, is Nutella that much different than spreading PB & J on toast? The numbers suggest there's not much of a difference.

                                                                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                          Nutella provides: (per 2 tablespoons)

                                                                                          200 Calories (100 Calories from fat)
                                                                                          11g fat (3.5g of which are saturated)
                                                                                          21 (!) grams of sugar
                                                                                          3g protein

                                                                                          Ingredients (as listed on the label): SUGAR, modified palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (from milk), soy lecithin: an emulsifier, vanillin: an ARTIFICIAL flavour.

                                                                                          It's not up to me to tell anyone what to eat or to feed their kids, but if it amounts to a candy bar in disguise, just own it.

                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                            Nutella makes great cookies! Mmmmm!

                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                              Well then let's file suit over captain crunch, coco puffs, cinamon toast crunch, pop tarts, toaster struddel and anthing else with sugar in it that is associated with breakfast in this country.

                                                                                              It's clearly the manufacture's fault that the parents are too lazy to read the labels and too stupid to do the basic math to figure out what they're feeding their kids.

                                                                                              While we're at it, let's go after the farmers for the fat in the bacon, the fat in the milk and the cholesterol in the eggs.

                                                                                              1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                I love fat and cholesterol; they're essential nutrients. I've never advocated suing anyone here, so you're barking up the wrong toaster strudel. :-)

                                                                                                I take responsibility for my food quality and what I feed those around me, and I always know exactly what's in it before I buy it.

                                                                                                1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                  it's not about marketing and selling sugary cereals that are devoid of nutritional value. there is nothing wrong with selling sugary foods with no nutritional value.

                                                                                                  it's about specifically claiming that these things are good for you. healthfulness is arguable in nutella's case--the calories aren't empty, but i'd still argue it's not something you should feed your kids for breakfast.

                                                                                                  healthfulness is not arguable in the case of captain crunch, coco puffs, cinamon toast crunch, pop tarts, or toaster strudel.

                                                                                                  these things are not "smart choices" (see link below), despite the labels on their packages proclaiming just that. they are in fact very stupid choices. anyone who knows anything about nutrition (e.g., anyone whose profession is selling food) knows that.

                                                                                                  but there a lot of people who actually don't know these things are bad for you. one of the reasons they don't know is that millions of advertising dollars are spent telling them the opposite.

                                                                                                  false advertising, though incredibly hard to prove, is in fact illegal. it's fraud.


                                                                                                  1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                                    "but there a lot of people who actually don't know these things are bad for you. one of the reasons they don't know is that millions of advertising dollars are spent telling them the opposite."

                                                                                                    Not just advertising dollars; co-optation dollars fill the coffers of the AHA and the two ADAs, getting their health seals on foods devoid of nutrition as long as they're low in fat.

                                                                                                    I think this kind of false advertising is a regulatory issue, like unsupported claims on for supplements, not a negligence issue. OTOH, if the regulators don't do their jobs... they should be prodded to before a lawsuit.

                                                                                                    1. re: leonora1974

                                                                                                      If they don't know, then isn't it their own fault for being ignorant? Apparently it's the manufature's fault that the masses pay more attention to an advertisement than actually knowing how to read what they eat. The healthfullness of the product is right there on the label - something I'm thrilled our gov't requires on food products. With the information literally in their hands, how can a law suit be justified?

                                                                                                      I guess a case of "I saw it on TV, so it must be true," is somehow valid? I guess that's rational... if you're five years old.

                                                                                                      I'm all for some regulation in food, but suing over something a logical person should be able to figure out just blows me away. It's a waste of our court system.

                                                                                                    2. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                      Right. I think all of the cereal commercials I've seen say, "Part of a balanced breakfast." Bowl of cereal, toast, fruit, OJ. Thing is, you could remove the cereal and it would still be a balanced breakfast.

                                                                                                    3. re: mcf

                                                                                                      Again, the numbers are similar to those that are in a PB & J. Are we calling PB & J unhealthy? Look, I'm not saying Nutella is a health food. But I also think it can be part of a healthy breakfast, just like PB & J can be part of a healthy breakfast. I don't think anyone would claim that strawberry jam is a health food, but nor is anyone to claim that strawberry jam is a candy bar in disguise because of it's high sugar content (note that 2 T of Smucker's Strawberry jam as 24 g of sugar (!!)), or that strawberry jam or peanut butter (with its high fat content) can't be a part of a healthy breakfast.

                                                                                                      Given the numbers, what makes Nutella a candy bar in disguise, but PB & J a fine breakfast choice?

                                                                                                      1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                                        I call PB and J unhealthy, particularly jam and PB with added sugars; you may differ.

                                                                                                        There's a huge difference between natural PB and the absurdly high sugar content in Nutella. I don't worry about non trans fat in the absence of starch and sugar, it's a non risk.

                                                                                                        Why anyone would feed their kid Smucker's with that much added sugar, or even have it in their home is beyond me, too. If I were going to offer PB and J, it'd be low to no added sugars.

                                                                                                        Different strokes.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          I agree--lumping all peanut butter into one category is deceiving. My pb is ground peanuts and salt, no sugar or anything else added. Jam is flavored sugar, imo. Not bad but again, a food I'd have in moderation, if at all. I'd put that along the lines of Nutella, like spreadable candy.

                                                                                                    4. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                                      If you're looking strictly at those numbers, Twinkies are positively a health food in comparison:
                                                                                                      For an ENTIRE Twinkie ( 1.5 oz):
                                                                                                      calories: 150
                                                                                                      fat: 4.5 grams
                                                                                                      carbs: 27 grams sugar: 19 grams
                                                                                                      protein: 1 gram
                                                                                                      calcium 20 mg

                                                                                                      You obviously can't go by those numbers alone.

                                                                                              2. Some might argue that Nutella is mentally healthy ;) But seriously, whatever happened to rights AND responsibility's?

                                                                                                4 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                  One person's healthy snack is another's poison!!!! I do not want the Government/ courts deciding what is healthy for me!!

                                                                                                  1. re: TheHuntress

                                                                                                    I always told my daughter that rights are always accompanied by responsibilities, that they're inseparable.

                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                      It's not up to me to tell anyone what to eat or to feed their kids, but if it amounts to a candy bar in disguise, just own it.

                                                                                                      1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                        I think that's misplaced (quote is elsewhere) but I agree, too. I love Nutella and wouldn't give it up but I'm not going to try to make myself feel better by pretending it's anything better than a candy bar (which I also enjoy!).

                                                                                                  2. First of all, I love Nutella,

                                                                                                    but is there a better nut/chocolate spread on the market,

                                                                                                    excluding the delicious peanut butter?

                                                                                                    19 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Naguere

                                                                                                        Justin's almond/dark chocolate has 1/3 the sugar and none of the crap that Nutella has.

                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                          And taste fabulous..and scores big points with me on co. philosophy and those handy indiv. serving packets are genius!

                                                                                                          It's helpful to taste & experiment with the full spectrum of choices out there. And, there are dozens of choices in the nut/chocolate category of food finds.

                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                            I've never seen the packets, but I carry almonds in my car at all times. Might be nice to have a small snack packet of the chocolate almond butter, too, since I don't carry a jar and spoon with me when I'm driving.

                                                                                                            It is delicious, and with 1/3 the sugar of Nutella, it tastes really sweet to me, so it's hard to imagine why Nutella needs 3X the sugar?

                                                                                                            1. re: mcf

                                                                                                              My take, just a diff recipe. Nutella has been around a long time and kept a popular place in the spread category with no reason to change its formula. Will these news piece make the co. change its formula? Something to stayed tuned for.

                                                                                                              Justin PB is a new product; new map on approaching food with a conscience effort to keep the power of food energy up and the sugars down. Diff recipe. A diff recipe for success. Consumers have choice.

                                                                                                              You can find the packets in markets or thru Justin's website. Very handy.

                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                I agree, and as I said, not up to me to tell folks what to choose. I do think that regulators should not allow the claims of nutrition or healthiness to stand, though.

                                                                                                                This sugar pushing is creating a huge health and economic crisis for the U.S., so there is a vested public interest in not letting it slide as a public message. The choices are still personal and private, but the information should be vetted.

                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                  And I respect your concerns, mcf. I also believe their are consumers reading the sodium content and ingredient lables for wheat content and so forth. The psa's covering the reading of food labels and nutritional edu has been running right along side the recipe makers of today. Evenly. So, you & I agree on the most important aspect of this lawsuit...can you READ a label.

                                                                                                                  1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                    "So, you & I agree on the most important aspect of this lawsuit...can you READ a label."

                                                                                                                    Yes, and "take responsibility for your choices and their consequences." That's primary on the individual level, and external fault finding is like our national hobby, unfortunately.

                                                                                                                    But some folks can't read, or can't read well, or find the nutrient data confusing or incomprehensible for a variety of reasons. They may rely more heavily on advertising for their info.

                                                                                                                    We all have a stake in not having misleading health claims allowed to stand.

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      "We all have a stake in not having misleading health claims allowed to stand."

                                                                                                                      That is something I don't doubt or dispute. But there is little misleading, as the label tells the entire story. And just because someone has failed to educated themselves doesn't mean the courts are there to do it for them.

                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                        "They may rely more heavily on advertising for their info."

                                                                                                                        But that's not the role of advertising. I'm not saying advertising can lie, but let's face it, the goal of marketing is to get you to buy something you otherwise wouldn't. It's certainly not to point out the flaw with every product ("Hey, buy these fiber bars! In addition to being healthy for you, they taste like bark and will give you enough gas to fuel a locomotive!")

                                                                                                                        At the end of the day, no one is going to be unhealthy because they eat a tablespoon of Nutella every morning for their breakfast. Nor is anyone going to be diabetic, obese, or have heart disease from spreading a tablespoon of Smuckers on their whole wheat toast. To argue that these are real issues is like fixating on the cracked window pane while the house is burning down.

                                                                                                                        Several times a week when I run or bike for more than an hour, I suck down a goo pack. As some folks would tell it, it's devil food because it's nothing more than flavored sugar. Is a 100 calories raspberry goo pack a health food? No. But it's consumed primarily by endurance athletes...among the healthiest folks around. What gives?

                                                                                                                        The point is, if the claim is that Nutella - like Skippy and Smuckers - can be part of a nutritious breakfast, there's nothing wrong with that claim. Just like granola, eggs, bread, and OJ can be part of a nutritious breakfast. Or they can be abused and turn someone obese. One meal, or one part of a meal, doesn't really mean much. It's the whole package that matters.

                                                                                                                        If someone relies on advertising to educate themselves, too bad. It's not rocket science. Take some responsibility.

                                                                                                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                                                          I disagree with much of what you write, but I also think it's veering way off CH mission and topic to try to address it.

                                                                                                                          Carry on! :-)

                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                            Yes, we can agree to disagree.

                                                                                                                            But I think this Nutella discussion is an example of a larger issue, one that I think a lot of people grapple with, but isn't always explicitly asked or answered: what, exactly, constitutes a "healthy choice"? On some things, like a carrot stick on the one hand, and a Ho-Ho on the other, most folks agree. But what about the vast middle ground, like the aforementioned PB & J and Nutella, Clif bars, and orange juice? What about a hamburger (home made) - 90% beef and on a whole wheat bun, that's not a bad source of protein. Served with a side salad, can that be considered a healthy meal?

                                                                                                                            I think it's an interesting question because what's a healthy choice might differ for different folks. A PB & J on whole wheat bread is a pretty good choice me. Then again, I'm also going on a 4 mile run or an hour bike ride most days, so a few grams of sugar and fat isn't that big a deal.

                                                                                                                            During long runs, lots of runners pop goo packs - flavored sugar in gel form. Is that considered "unhealthy" for them? Can what is considered "healthy" or "unhealthy" be situational? Can a pizza or a burger - when prepared in certain ways - be considered part of a healthy meal? I think these are the types of questions lots of people struggle with on a daily basis.

                                                                                                                            1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                                                              I think the mods have been very consistent in deleting such discussions because they're not chowish and fun, and end up like religious wars with citation swaps.
                                                                                                                              Off mission.

                                                                                                                              For the record, no juices, starches or sugars for me, and I eschew lean meat for the most part. :-)

                                                                                                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                    Thanks, I missed that completely, and assumed "packs" on the site meant cases or something.

                                                                                                                    I don't even recall asking about spicy plantain chips! You sure that was moi? I can't recall ever having heard of them, and they appear to be all fat and carbs... my memory stinks, but...

                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                      LOL! no, sorry about that, i goofed. it was lgss...between my carb/sugar discussions with you and my gluten discussions with her, and the fact that you're both just initials, sometimes i get a bit dyslexic. oops :) editing my post...

                                                                                                                      1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                        <*wipes sweat from brow*> I've been having a lot of memory problems, so you rilly, RILLY gave me a Senility Scare there! Have you tried Arico Cassava chips, btw? :-)

                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                          so sorry to scare you like that! i know how it is - i always have memory problems when my pituitary or thyroid is on the fritz...which happens far more often than i'd like.

                                                                                                                          i tried the cassava chips back when they first came out. i didn't love the texture - they weren't quite thick/substantial enough for me, and the BBQ flavor, which was the one that really called to me, was much too sweet for my liking. interestingly enough, they apparently just changed the product name AND texture, so maybe i'll like this updated version better. i'll give 'em another try if i see the new bags at the store.


                                                                                                                    2. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                      yeah, still no local source for me on Justin's PB packets but I usually order 5 boxes of mixed packs for myself and the family via Justin's online.

                                                                                                            2. This falls in line with the shocking surprise that a $.99 mass produced taco isn't all beef!
                                                                                                              Where do these people come from? Geez!

                                                                                                              8 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                If McDonald's advertises that their meat is 100% beef, then I expect it to be. Blatant lies shouldn't be tolerated. The government does regulate ads be somewhat truthful, well other than their own political campaign ads which can say anything they want.:-p

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                  Taco Bell never said it was 100% beef. They call it a beef taco...not the same.

                                                                                                                  1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                    Some re-namings are humorous: Enzo Ferrari called his engine layout an 'otto-vu' (8V) because he thought 'V8' was trademarked. But really, beef should be beef.

                                                                                                                    1. re: FoodChic

                                                                                                                      But there are USDA regulations about what you can call things based on their content. I don't know the specifics but my understanding is that you need a certain minimum percentage of beef to be able to call a product "beef x," less for "x with beef," and even less for "beef-flavored x."

                                                                                                                      Taco Bell, of course, claims that its taco filling is 88% beef. But a bit of research shows that lowest-grade commercial ground beef can easily have well over 50% fat content. Which means that both Taco Bell and their critics could be right - the filling may contain 88% "beef," but in fact be only 35% meat, the rest fat, seasonings, and filler.

                                                                                                                      1. re: BobB

                                                                                                                        Yummy.....makes me want to make my own tacos and nachos.

                                                                                                                        1. re: kprange

                                                                                                                          Having never tasted anything from Taco Bell in my life, I must agree. The place just scares me.

                                                                                                                        2. re: BobB

                                                                                                                          I think it's just basically a good rule to avoid fast food. I'm amazed, and always humored, by people's shock when they hear about poor quality from a restuarant with 3500 locations with food tasting the same no matter what city, state or country.

                                                                                                                  2. Taken from the www.nutellausa.com website:

                                                                                                                    Create a meal of whole wheat toast or a whole-grain toaster waffle with Nutella® hazelnut spread, a small bowl of sliced strawberries and a glass of 1% milk for a good mix of morning nutrients.

                                                                                                                    When used in moderation with complementary foods, Nutella® can form a part of a balanced meal. It is a quick and easy way to encourage kids to eat whole grains, such as whole wheat toast, English muffins, toaster waffles and bagels. With the unique taste of Nutella®, kids may think they are eating a treat for breakfast while moms are helping nourish their children with whole grains.
                                                                                                                    Gimme a break Lawsuit Lady
                                                                                                                    It's all about choice.
                                                                                                                    'Nuff said

                                                                                                                    1. http://www.forbes.com/sites/wlf/2012/...

                                                                                                                      Case settled

                                                                                                                      And another perspective on these kinds of cases:


                                                                                                                      Instead of automatically thinking of this kind of class action lawsuit as a kind of opportunistic grab for money/avoiding of personal responsibility, consider that it's often the only practical way to actually enforce the laws most places already have on the books against blatantly false advertising.

                                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                        This is a very interesting question, one that can't be easily answered. Thanks for providing the links that you did, it made for interesting reading.

                                                                                                                        On the one hand, I certainly agree that many food manufactures take liberties with advertising, and some of it is downright false. But on the other hand, in many situations, there's a very broad gray area, and I think legitimately, folks can disagree.

                                                                                                                        In the case of Nutella, while I didn't see all of the advertisements in question, the maker never claimed that Nutella was healthy, only that it can be part of a nutritious breakfast. To be honest, I don't see anything wrong with that statement. To take another ingredient, the same could be said of butter. No one would seriously argue that its nutritious, yet it can certainly be part of a very healthy meal.

                                                                                                                        Personally, I believe that Nutella's adverts fell squarely into that gray zone, where the claim isn't false (can Nutella be part of a healthy breakfast? Of course!), yet at the same time, it can't be taken to mean that Nutella itself is a "health food". I've seen granola mixes that bill themselves as "health foods", yet are in the same league as Nutella when it comes to sugar and fat.

                                                                                                                        I still believe that folks need to show more personal responsibility when it comes to food product claims. Reading a label just isn't difficult. But this was an interesting case, and thanks again for adding the case's ending to the thread.

                                                                                                                        1. re: foreverhungry

                                                                                                                          "In the case of Nutella, while I didn't see all of the advertisements in question, the maker never claimed that Nutella was healthy, only that it can be part of a nutritious breakfast."
                                                                                                                          IIRC, they took it one little step further than that. The ads claimed that nutella can encourage healthy eating by getting kids to eat healthy things. That statement is a little more problematic than just saying that it can be part of a healthy meal, because smearing a few sprigs of broccoli or a slice of whole grain bread with a serving of nutella entails that those foods are no longer healthy. It drastically alters the nutrient density of the healthy food.

                                                                                                                          I'd agree in a more general sense that this still falls into a kind of gray area. The Nutella ads basically did advertise on the basis of a fiction. OTOH, it's pretty questionable that any reasonable adult would buy into that fiction, or more importantly, buy their product because they were misled by the advertisement. In any case, I personally have a hard time conjuring up much sympathy for Nutella's makers. They knew that ad was BS and they ran with it.

                                                                                                                        2. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                          It's hard not to see it as a money grab....for lawyers. Lawyers often receive the "riches" from such lawsuits and it's their profession that allows for continued lawsuits of this nature. The public is a minor bleep in the larger picture. In this case $20.00...but legal fees-well, read on:


                                                                                                                          1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                            The article you posted is interesting, but it faults the lawsuit because it thinks the central claim is without merit. Personal responsibility is all well and good, but also completely beside the point. To me the big question is whether Nutella crossed a line with their ads. I'm not 100% sure how I feel about that - as I said above, it strikes me as a gray area.

                                                                                                                            I posted the article above to point out that this kind of lawsuit can serve a valuable function. It's the most practical way of actually enforcing laws against false advertising of foodstuffs, because the official bodies that are supposed to regulate that kind of thing don't do a good job of it. The processed food industry has a lot of influence on lawmakers and regulatory bodies and has successfully gotten many of the industry's insiders appointed to positions that 'regulate' the industry.

                                                                                                                            Were these particular lawyers making a money grab? Hard to say. I have no idea what their expenses were, how many man-hours they sunk into the lawsuit. Maybe they got a windfall of a payday, or maybe that $3,000,000 got spread pretty thin once expenses were accounted for. I can say that I'm not a lawyer - I'm in the medical field, and regardless of how altruistic my intentions might be, I get paid to go to work. Again, I think how one views the lawyers in this case will depend greatly on how much merit one sees in said case. They might be out to make a quick buck; they might be out to act as consumer advocates; heck, there's no reason they can't be doing both at the same time.

                                                                                                                            Anyway, since so much of the criticism in this thread was lobbed at the woman who filed the suit, I especially wanted to point out that despite making herself a target of public ridicule, she never really stood to personally gain very much in the first place.

                                                                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                                                              According to what I read in NJ & CA there was more than one woman who filed suit and the "settlement" for less than a years time offered these consumers $20.00 for their signatures and far more for the legal eagles. That being my only point to this ridiculous claim. Consumer advocates, baloney.

                                                                                                                        3. Coincidentally, at a restaurant yesterday for dessert, I had a banana, Nutella waffle. I ate all of it. Can I sue someone for something?

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: RC51Mike

                                                                                                                            Perhaps the restaurant itself for serving that evil combination without obtaining a written waiver and medical consent form from you and for failing to provide you with a full nutritional accounting of what you chose to order...covers you in the case of eventual heart disease? After all, SOMEONE has to protect you from yourself?


                                                                                                                          2. It sounds like the plaintiff is simply suing because of false advertising. I actually think what she is doing is good. If the claims about nutrition aren't factual, then the company should be told to shape up. Change its labels. Paying damages to so many customers is a kind of odd request, but at least she doesn't seem to be in the lawsuit to enrich herself.

                                                                                                                            26 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: sueatmo

                                                                                                                              If the claims about nutrition aren't factual, then the company should be told to shape up. Change its labels.
                                                                                                                              the label CLEARLY shows the comprehensive nutritional breakdown of the product and all ingredients in it. no false advertising there. yes, their commercials are pretty silly, and some might even say misleading...but you're not buying the product blindly through your TV screen. all you have to do is look at the label when you pull the jar off the store shelf to see that it's not health food.

                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                Not everyone is literate, and claims of health promotion should be regulated, and typically are. Some folks don't have the skills or the education, interest or ability to evaluate the healthfulness of the food by reading the label. Such folks are most likely to make a bad choice based upon a belief that they couldn't say it if it weren't true.

                                                                                                                                1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                  That goes for almost 90 percent of food advertising and 100 percent of the food supplement industry. Can't regulate everything, and in your above scenario, you definitely would have to do that in order to protect everyone to the degree that you feel is necessary.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                    Plus once it was explained to the consumer, why did this become a class action suit? She could have returned the product to the store for a refund. Clearly the first person named in this lawsuit learned quickly what the label/ingredients contain.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                      Not everyone looking at the label will necessarily understand that using it amounts to slathering sugar and grease on top of starch, which is what it really boils down to. Lots of empty calories and a growing taste for sugar. And, since studies have demonstrated in both kids and adults that such a meal leads to bigger appetite and consumption of more calories at the next meal, calling it a meal that will promote healthful eating habits is a demonstrably false claim.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                        mcf, with all due respect to your belief, knowledge and experience as a diabetic (I've learned a good deal reading your posts) don't you believe that part of being a responsible individual is to learn. I mean honestly, individuals who eat Nutella and enjoy it don't have this issue. It's not a BAD product. It may not be for everyone, or be the choice for individuals watching their health or diet but consumption of food is our individual right and responsiblity. Nutella wasn't promoting healthful eating habits, they were marketing the product as part of a healthy breakfast. In the same way that donuts, pastries, sugared cereal, high caloric health bars and yogurt shops do all over the country. The same way food chains do with their "breakfast lineup" the same way that 99% of the food world does in order to sell to consumers. Unless you live in some remote corner of the world you have access to these foods and the choice to buy them. Nutella is no different than peanut butter... So, I'll draw a comparison now. I grew up on P&B sandwiches..with no ill effects..because I am an active person, I'm not allergic to nuts and I enjoy pb. Did anyone sue Jif for promoting it's product as part of a healthy lunch sandwich? http://www.jif.com/News/

                                                                                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                          Yes, of course I do, and obviously it's something I spend a great deal of time and energy on and think about a great deal. But my personal accountability for my decisions doesn't mean that purveyors should be permitted to make unsubstantiated and false claims, does it?

                                                                                                                                          My position is that it is a sugary snack food that should be limited if not avoided entirely, not part of a healthy breakfast. Now you disagree, and your assessment and chosen sources of information may differ from mine and that's your decision, fine by me.

                                                                                                                                          As to peanut butter, I have to think you realize that sugar is not always, or even usually, an ingredient in it? I've never bought any that have it, nor would I. Tastes and priorities differ.

                                                                                                                                          I don't buy donuts, pastries or cakes for breakfast either, never did consider them part of any healthy meal, though I sure loved getting my hands on them as a kid. :-)

                                                                                                                                          1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            There's sugar in Jif and for some people too much fat, too high in calorie. My point being the product has been on the market, sold as a quick, easy, nutritious lunch sandwich forever. We consumers must read the label and decide if we want to serve Jif to our children, enjoy it ourselves. Choices.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                              And taking responsibility for one's choices. That's the key.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                You and I are in complete agreement on your last point. I guess I don't see how it's relevent to the larger question of false and misleading health claims being allowed to stand unchallenged.

                                                                                                                                                One position doesn't obviate the other.

                                                                                                                                      2. re: freia

                                                                                                                                        But there are such regulations and enforcement actions against supplement sellers and food companies making health claims. Nothing new here.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                          Actually, not really. In fact, the entire supplement industry isn't under the FDA as they market supplements not drugs nor food. There is no regulation that the contents of their supplements are actually present in the amounts claimed on the information on their bottles. And the effects of the supplements (lose 10 lbs in 10 days --- when used in conjunction with a calorie restricted diet and exercise) aren't regulated at all until deaths are involved.
                                                                                                                                          And check me on this, but Nutella never claimed to cure cancer or reduce one's risk of cardiovascular disease. What they claimed is in line with marketing techniques used in pretty much every other food marketing campaign. Try the Special K diet! When eaten in conjuction with a calorie reduced diet and exercise you could lose X lbs in Y days and become healthier! KitKat! A terrific way to boost energy -- don't you deserve a KitKat today? Hamburgers made with 100 percent real beef (true, but the ratio of beef to fillers is 1:25)! Become a winner with our 400 calorie sports drink - you need this after your 20 minute walk. A powerbar has the same nutritional information as a Snickers bar -- think about it and the marketing of each respectively.
                                                                                                                                          Nutella's claims are no better nor no worse than those made by 90 percent of food advertisers and almost 100 percent of food supplement sellers. Buyer beware IMHO. And clearly not worthy of a lawsuit.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                            I cannot parse this: " In fact, the entire supplement industry isn't under the FDA as they market supplements not drugs nor food."

                                                                                                                                            Edit: I got it, your syntax led me astray. Actually, quite a few supplement companies have had regulatory enforcement against them wrt specific health claims: they do not need prior proof and approval like drugs, but they do have to provide information to substantiate that any health claims are not misleading.

                                                                                                                                            I just disagree with your analysis of the rest.

                                                                                                                                            So what else is new? :-)

                                                                                                                                          2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                            Oh, and just watching a commercial for breakfast cereal.
                                                                                                                                            "If whole grain isnt the first ingredient in your breakfast cereal , what is? Now in every box of General Mills Big G cereal, there's more whole grain than any other ingredient and that's why it's listed first".
                                                                                                                                            The nutritional information panel lists the following, in order of appearance:
                                                                                                                                            Whole Grain Oats, Sugar, Modified Corn Starch, Honey, Brown Sugar Syrup....

                                                                                                                                            The clear implication is that whole grains are healthy for you, that their cereal has whole grains as the first ingredient, therefore their cereals are healthy for you. Notwithstanding that Sugar, Honey and Brown Sugar Syrup kind of are, um, sugar? And by falsely separating them in this way, it artificially "boosts" the appearance level of Whole Grain Oats.
                                                                                                                                            Big G cereals include Lucky Charms, right up there on the commercial.

                                                                                                                                            Perhaps I should sue...

                                                                                                                                            1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                              There's a Big Diff between calling something "healthy" and making a claim that it will lead to a specific outcome.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                                But Nutella's claims that it would lead to a specific outcome were correct. Nutella claimed that it would be a good way to get your kids to eat whole wheat toast, and so it is. Melting a snickers on top of toast would also get them to eat it. You may disagree with the parenting choice of slathering things in sugar to get your kids to eat it, but it doesn't make the benefits of the whole wheat toast disappear, and it's not a lie by the manufacturer of Nutella.

                                                                                                                                                IMO, encouraging government regulation for this type of thing is a dangerous and slippery slope. I love Nutella on toast. I do consider it "part of" a healthy breakfast as I have a spoonful of Nutella on toast, an egg, fruit, and milk. When there is no Nutella in the house, I use butter and honey or jam - other choices that are pure fat and sugar. I do consider Nutella a healthier option than a Snickers bar, frankly, because though it's full of crap, it's not as much fake crap as a candy bar and I do eat it with toast, not just by itself, so I am getting fiber, etc.

                                                                                                                                                If people are worried about their health, they should take the time to learn what's healthy, not make it the government's responsibility to follow them around like children checking up on their choices. "Are you eating your Nutella in moderation? Can you be trusted with this product? Oh good! Your BMI is a good range. Go ahead. No, not you, you don't exercise enough!" Bullocks.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                  Ingredients in snickers:

                                                                                                                                                  MILK CHOCOLATE, PEANUTS, CORN SYRUP, SUGAR, MILKFAT, SKIM MILK, PARTIALLY HYDROGENATED SOYBEAN OIL, LACTOSE, SALT, EGG WHITES,CHOCOLATE, ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

                                                                                                                                                  Ingredients in Nutella:
                                                                                                                                                  SUGAR, PALM OIL, HAZELNUTS, COCOA, SKIM MILK, REDUCED MINERALS WHEY (MILK), LECITHIN AS EMULSIFIER (SOY), VANILLIN: AN ARTIFICIAL FLAVOR.

                                                                                                                                                  Why is nutella better? You can consider the nutella as part of a healthy breakfast just as other might consider a few puffs of cigarettes as part of a healthy breakfast of steel cut oatmeal, blueberries and almonds. It makes the breakfast less healthy, either way.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                    Its a non issue, simply because the claim is that Nutella can be part of a healthy breakfast (true, as can anything) and that if you put it on whole grains, kids will eat it (also true).
                                                                                                                                                    Whether a food meets one's personal expectations of "health" or not is a personal choice, based on consumer research of the product in question and one's personal belief system. One person's steel cut oats becomes another's puff of a cigarette. No point debating this, as nutrition and the effects of nutrition and diet on disease/illness processes are absolutely debatable. There is no end of research proving one theory and equally valid research that disproves it to prove another. There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to nutrition, just a collection of principles based on the bulk of current research that is accepted by the Nutritional community at this particular point in time.
                                                                                                                                                    You'll also never find a food or food supplement that claims to cure anything or treat anything without a small print disclaimer or caveat afterwards. You'll see statement such as "our product reduces cholesterol levels by x amount *" where the * takes you to a corporate sponsored study, or a statement such as "when eaten in conjunction with a healthy breakfast" or to a statement such as "according to the Heart Association 2011 report". So to suggest that Nutella is doing anything different with respect to unsubstantiated claims isn't correct. I suspect that Nutella just wanted the aggra of a lawsuit over and done with, and settled as it was cheaper to do so than to drag it out for years at their expense while the complaintant had a lawyer prepared to take payment on a contingency basis.
                                                                                                                                                    Nutella marketing is no different than marketing of foods and supplements at best, and if a consumer makes a choice, they bear the consequences of that choice.
                                                                                                                                                    I personally have no issue with Nutella, peanut butter, Snickers bars, as whatever I choose to eat is my choice and I take full responsibility for that. As should the legal filer in question.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                      "Its a non issue, simply because the claim is that Nutella can be part of a healthy breakfast (true, as can anything) and that if you put it on whole grains, kids will eat it (also true)."

                                                                                                                                                      Yep, and if you let college students take a few puffs of pot, maybe they'll happily devour their whole wheat toast and that would make it part of a healthy breakfast?

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                        Pot isn't legal, therefore your argument is theoretical and not relevant to the topic at hand. Again, diving into theoretical "oh yeah, but what if you do THIS/smoke THIS/eat THIS is not helpful to the discussion at hand (oh YEAH? but what if I drive my car at 200 mph while eating a whole grain bun with Nutella and crash? Would you STILL say Nutella wasn't bad for you??? Oh YEAH??? Well, what about if you take axle grease and eat it with the Nutella and get SICK? Isn't THAT just as bad???...and so on).
                                                                                                                                                        Nutella made claims that are in fact true. The case was a cash grab, clear and simple.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: freia

                                                                                                                                                          Apparently not true because the courts ruled against them and they're no longer using the ad. The argument they've claimed about Nutella could be used for anything is my only point. And look at the number of people in this thread alone who've bought into that garbage.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                            The court didn't rule against them: the company decided to reduce their aggra factor and settle after 10 months of litigation and almost a million dollars in legal fees. That's the difference. Again, as said above, probably a settlement was cheaper from the POV of the company than fighting for years in a courtroom against a lawyer/s on contingency fee.
                                                                                                                                                            You may find this of interest, especial wrt the legal fees involved:

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                                                                                              There are quite a few versions of the Nutella tv ad running since 2010; after the original ruling.

                                                                                                                                            2. re: mcf

                                                                                                                                              just to be clear, my intention here is NOT to defend the company or the product. and you know that i'm painfully aware of the lack of nutrition education and awareness among the general population - it makes my professional life more difficult than it needs to be! but what about people who can't afford a television or don't see the ad on TV and discover the product just by finding it on a store shelf? how are you going to prevent them from making a "bad choice" if they can't read the label?

                                                                                                                                              their ads claim Nutella can be *part* of a complete breakfast. they're not telling you to snarf it straight from the jar with a spoon as a well-rounded meal to start your day off right. again, i'm not saying i even agree with their idea of what constitutes a "wholesome" or "balanced" breakfast...but unfortunately the example they offer - whole-grain toast with Nutella, milk, and OJ [cringe] - aligns pretty well with the standard recommendations/guidelines you usually see from sources like the USDA, so how is the manufacturer bearing the complete burden of responsibility here? companies like General Mills & Kelloggs promote their sugar-laden cereals with claims like "packed with good-for-you grains" or "made with whole grains," and i think that sucks too, and i personally *know* very intelligent, literate adults who have been misled by some of it...but i don't see any of them suing the companies for it.

                                                                                                                                              if it's a matter of regulating "claims of health promotion," then IMO singling out and suing one company isn't the most appropriate or effective way to handle it. you're better off taking it up with the responsible regulatory body and urging them to take action.

                                                                                                                                              i just think this was a misdirected witch hunt of sorts. but as always, that's just *my* opinion and interpretation, and we're all entitled to ours.

                                                                                                                                              1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                                                                                                                                "if it's a matter of regulating "claims of health promotion," then IMO singling out and suing one company isn't the most appropriate or effective way to handle it. you're better off taking it up with the responsible regulatory body and urging them to take action."

                                                                                                                                                I think we need both. Sadly, few things change corporate misbehavior more than a hit in the pocketbook, and can be a deterrent to other companies observing the cost of defending, much less losing, the suit. And we need the FDA to grow a bigger pair. They're rebuilding from zero integrity in the last admin. They've been much more agressive about drug safety already, and food manufacturing safety standards, too. But toothlessness has a long history there to overcome.

                                                                                                                                                I'm not about having a nanny state or making life risk free for every man, woman and child. I am about enforcement of consumer protections and regulations against false and misleading claims. And whatever pressure it takes from organized consumers to make it not worth their while to lie. I'm the last person in the world to be personally litigious, and I know law firms rake in all the dough in class actions, but I've also seen them make changes in government and corporate behavior in a way that working through regulators (especially in the face of the all powerful grain and sugar lobbies) often does not.

                                                                                                                                                And you and I are in agreement about how crappy those "healthy whole grain" with juices, etc. breakfasts are.

                                                                                                                                        2. Just wanted to point out that the nutella sold in US grocery stores contains different ingrediants than the nutella in Europe (which is available in the US in specialty stores, salumerias, etc). Look for the glass jar; the stuff made in the US is in plastic. I only buy the one in glass.

                                                                                                                                          1. Looks like the lawsuit is settled for about $3 Million (actually around $2.5 million after the lawyer's take their cut.)

                                                                                                                                            Makes sense to me... False advertising is false advertising.

                                                                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                              Are you going to fill out the claim form for a refund, dave_c?

                                                                                                                                              1. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                Honest question - is the money divided evenly between all filers, or does the woman who originally filed get a certain percentage? Basically I want to know if my filling out a claim would mean she gets less money...because if so, I'll fill out a claim just to spite her for clogging our courts with such ridiculousness. Otherwise Nutella can keep my $5.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: thursday

                                                                                                                                                  thursday, a filer is ANYONE who is willing to claim they purchased Nutella in a given time frame (that date is listed on the claim form). Up to five jars. The claim form can be completed online or thru the mail and proof of purchase is not required. The woman who started this lawsuit is not rec'ing anymore or any less than jane or john doe who fills out the form. The millions, once lawyers rec' payment, is to cover all submitted claims from the buying public until the money runs dry.

                                                                                                                                                  What a waste of resources!

                                                                                                                                                  And for those following along closely (since I live on both coasts I have followed this closely) there is nothing in the settlement about advocacy to help the public make smarter buying choices, to read labels or to learn anything as a result of this lawsuit. Nothing! All that is being asked for is a change in marketing strategy/media to this specific product and trust me that will come down to a few minor tweaks in wording. Families will still be marketed to and children will still appear in commercials. So using this lawsuit as a teachable moment, it is not.

                                                                                                                                                2. re: HillJ

                                                                                                                                                  No claim will be made by me as I don't buy the stuff.

                                                                                                                                                  I didn't see the goal of the lawsuit as making the public smarter.

                                                                                                                                                  It's a lawsuit about a company exaggerating (some people would say the company was "lying") about the benefits of it's product. It boils down to holding the company to a higher level of conduct.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                                                                                                                    I see :) I mentioned educating the public because that aspect of lawsuit outcomes did come up inside this thread at one point and based on what I've read that's not going to happen as part of the companies responsibility. Deception, misleading the public in advertising...well, dave_c...spend an hour watching television commericals or combing thru print ads...and find me one that doesn't.

                                                                                                                                                    READ the label lawsuit lady, read the label.