'Shocked' by Nutella
Oh, come on.
That's my response to the lawsuit being brought by San Diego mom Athena Hohenberg against Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, the chocolate/hazelnut spread that's being advertised lately as making up part of a healthy breakfast.
Hohenberg says she was "shocked" -- shocked! -- when friends told her that Nutella really isn't very nutritionally sound, being full of fat and sugar. Hohenberg says Nutella's ad claims had misled her into repeatedly purchasing the spread to serve to her 4-year-old daughter, thinking she was providing a healthful breakfast for the child.
Nutella ads do suggest that Nutella can be part of a balanced, nutritious breakfast. The Nutella Web site makes the case that getting kids to eat something for breakfast is better than having them skip that meal, and that Nutella can make whole-grain toast more appealing to kids. (Ads touting Nutella as part of a healthful breakfast were challenged on similar grounds and withdrawn in the UK in 2008.) The site suggests pairing Nutella-spread toast (or whole-grain waffle) with strawberries and skim milk for a "balanced" breakfast. (It offers a build-your-breakfast tool that shows how different combinations of foods stack up, nutrition-wise, and how they fit into your daily requirements.)
Here's a quote from the lawsuit: "In or around December 2010, Ms. Hohenberg learned through friends what ingredients were in the Nutella that she was feeding her family. She was shocked to learn that Nutella was not in fact a 'healthy' 'nutritious' food but instead was the next best thing to a candy bar...."
Hohenberg needed her friends to point this out? Nutella's Nutrition Facts panel makes clear that the stuff's full of fat -- a 2-tablespoon serving has 200 calories, half of them from fat. (None of its fat is partially hydrogenated or of the "trans" variety.) All a person has to do is to look on the back of the jar to learn that much, and to see that Nutella is full of sugar, too -- 21 grams per serving.
I've grappled with Nutella's nutrition myself, having gotten hooked on the yummy confection when I visited France a few years ago. But I checked it out, determined it wasn't health food (despite containing hazelnuts, cocoa and skim milk) and agreed with myself to enjoy it in moderation.
There's a lot of this food-claim lawsuit-slinging going on lately, and I'm thinking it all might backfire. I can imagine reasonable people across the land getting their hackles up and defending foods that, while perhaps lacking in nutritional value, provide some modicum of pleasure.
What do you make of this latest litigation? Does it make you want to go stick a spoon in a jar of Nutella? Or do you think Hohenberg's got it right?
Jennifer LaRue Huget
| February 14, 2011; 9:30 AM ET
Categories: Nutrition and Fitness
Save & Share: Previous: Is that right? Drinking diet soda increases stroke risk?
Next: FDA oversight of medical devices questioned
Posted by: mooncusser | February 14, 2011 11:30 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Baltimore11 | February 14, 2011 11:32 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: mirebay | February 14, 2011 11:34 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: daveb59 | February 14, 2011 11:43 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: David90 | February 14, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ModernMom1 | February 14, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: instanton | February 14, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: poppysue85 | February 14, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: readerl | February 14, 2011 12:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Erasma | February 14, 2011 12:59 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: ChrisRD | February 14, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: TechFan | February 14, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: MasonPatriot1 | February 14, 2011 1:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: BootmanDC | February 14, 2011 1:48 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: mirebay | February 14, 2011 1:51 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eDubfromKtown | February 14, 2011 2:35 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: annegonzales123 | February 15, 2011 1:59 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: Hazelnut1 | February 15, 2011 5:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Katya2 | February 16, 2011 2:28 PM | Report abuse