No shit Sherlock

by Khushboo on October 15, 2012

The only thing better than Nutella on a spoon is Nutella on bread…or croissant, crepe, and every other doughy carb.  I state this ever so important fact because of a case I came across this weekend, which spurred a huge craving for the stuff.   Long story short, Athena Hohenberg sued Nutella earlier this year because she felt “deceived” by the company’s marketing strategy.  The California mom had no idea that serving her four-year-old child chocolate for breakfast might not be the healthiest choice, especially given their TV commercial:

For some reason this lawsuit really irked me, so I thought I’d share my $0.02.

While I do agree that Nutella did engage in wrongful business practice by highlighting the low sodium, hazelnut and skim milk portion of the chocolate spread and failing to mention the sugar content, I think this case is absolutely ridiculous.  Sorry no, the fact that this lady’s case earned $3 million is ridiculous.  She is exactly the kind of person that drives me nuts i.e. the type who keeps making excuses rather than take responsibility. Clued up on nutrition or not, it’s not rocket science to know that Nutella, or any chocolate-hazelnut spread, is not healthy.  For goodness sake, the first ingredient is sugar- that must count for something!  While McDonald’s fries are made from “real potatoes”, no one needs a nutrition expert to advise them about their lack of nutrition.

And although the spread isn’t necessarily healthy, I think that Nutella can be incorporated into a healthy meal.  Fair enough it’s no bowl of oatmeal, but spread it on whole-wheat bread, add in a side of fruit & yogurt or eggs, and that looks pretty balanced to me…at least more balanced than no breakfast at all.  Maybe not daily but every so often it works.

Don’t get me wrong- I still think that the company’s marketing strategy was misleading to an extent.  Companies, including Nutella, need to stop sugar-coating their products as being healthier than they truly are.  However isn’t it up to us consumers to keep a critical eye when watching these ads and read the labels when they are provided to us? Yes we’re all busy but if it we are eating a certain food regularly, surely we can put aside a few minutes to understand what it is made of.  No one except the company can change a product, but we absolutely can moderate the way we consume it.

You are welcome :)

Source

In my “humble” opinion, this is just a classic case of ignorance and failure to take responsibility.  This case might have earned Athena Hohenberg a buck or 3 (million), but she is still a “nut” job. And yes, pun very much intended.

What is your take on this lawsuit? Did the mother have a legit claim? 

What’s your favorite way to eat Nutella?

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

Sara K October 15, 2012 at 7:36 pm

Wow, seriously a lawsuit against Nutella? Does this woman think she’s going to win? Absolutely ridiculous- the ingredients and nutrition facts ARE listed on the jar and it’s pure marketing to highlight the ‘health benefits’ of any product.
By the way is that a Suzette Crepe?

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Not a Suzette crepe but exactly what they look like…it’s hard to snap a photo rather than immediately dig in ;) ! I am actually going tonight and have a voucher for a free sweet crepe…I think we both know what the night will end with ;) !

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Dixya @ Food, Pleasure and Health October 15, 2012 at 7:41 pm

I think its ridiculous and she won that law suit for no reasons. If she is so concerned about her child’s health and nutrition- she should have been reading NUTRITION LABELS which clearly states what is all in there. Of course, any company would try to market their product as health but we all know these tricks and gimmicks. BTW, I love Nutella on everything! As long as it is enjoyed in moderation, like you mentioned could certainly be part of our life.

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm

Exactly! And if she has time to file a freakin’ lawsuit, she can easily spend that extra minute or 2 reading the label!

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Parita October 15, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I am with you! I think this is a ridiculous suit. It’s called consumer responsiblity. Just because something is touted as being healthy, doesn’t necessarily mean it is. DUH! This makes me SO mad! It’s like people suing fast food joints for making them obese…I mean come on! (http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=91427&page=1)

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Wow this case against fast food joints is crazy! Although it would be nice, it’s not a company’s job to educate us. Did you hear about that case against McDonald’s because their coffee was “too hot”?

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table October 15, 2012 at 8:26 pm

You mean fried aren’t a health food?!

The amount of people who are so uninformed about food choices blows my mind. I know I’m lucky in that I was raised and educated in a way that made it easy for me, but seriously… chocolate spread will never be a health food (wahhh!). That’s just common sense.

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:33 pm

Darn, and there I thought that vegetable tempura and carrot cake were healthy…because you know, they contain veggies ;) !

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Brittany October 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm

No no no no no this mother is an idiot. She used this company to her advantage by pulling a typical “american” idiotic mindset. NO SHIT is right, read the damn labels. I’m irked too..

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Hahahaha I love that you put American in quotes. I didn’t think it was politically correct of me to write it ;) !

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Amanda @ .running with spoons. October 15, 2012 at 9:50 pm

Oh man… when it comes to people like this, I really am at a loss for words. I don’t think this woman had a legitimate claim -at all- and her winning the suit is ridiculous because she was basically paid for being stupid and ignorant. There’s SO much information about health out there these days, and it’s so easily accessible, that there’s no excuse for being in the dark aside from just being lazy. Are we paying people to be lazy? Because if we are, I should just quit my job and be an idiotic leech. Oh wait… I’d rather not.

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

I’m glad you have a good head on your shoulders! Although the extra cash would be nice, I think I’d choose brains over unwarranted moolah any day!

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Alex @ therunwithin October 15, 2012 at 9:59 pm

i agree with you completly. I think there is something to be said that really any food can be incorperated in a healthy lifestyle. balance is key!

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:36 pm

True story…too much of anything is not good!

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Allie October 15, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Arrgh, I’m so with you on this one! This case made me furious! Of COURSE every product tries to make itself sound healthier than it actually is–read a box of Poptarts, it says “made with real fruit.” But no one eats a poptart and thinks it’s just as healthy as an apple. Nothing wrong with these products at all, just be smart, read the label, and use it in moderation! Because YES, Nutella is amazing, but nope, I’m not going to eat it and assume it’s the same as a glass of milk and handful of nuts.

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:37 pm

It’s all part of marketing- no company in their right mind would put their product in a negative light! Oh if only a spoonful of Nutella was the same as a nuts and a glass of milk!

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Alexandra October 16, 2012 at 2:39 am

WTF!!!!! I hadn’t heard about that case until this post. UGGHH talk about ISANE!!!! I totally agree with you girl–people need to just stop blaming others for their stupidity and bite the bullet. Maybe if that lady actually read the freakin Nutella label she wouldn’t be making all these dumb claims haha

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

It’s absolutely absurd…people need to learn how to clean up their own shiz!

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Honey What's Cooking October 16, 2012 at 5:10 am

she is an idiot, just a mom looking to make a buck. it doesn’t take a genius to figure out nutella is not the healthiest thing, but it is okay – in moderation. My favorite thing in the world is nutella over bananas, and even raspberries. YUM!
Thanks for your sweet comment K, just so sweet! :)

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Ohh and even strawberries! You are most welcome…hope you are doing okay :)

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caloricandcrazy October 16, 2012 at 8:28 am

Who said the family in the pic was having Nutella for breakfast? What if they were eating an afternoon snack and sharing the day’s bright events :P ?

I love nutella in oats, and I once had it in this cream of wheat mixture I made with Weetabix….SO GOOD :d

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm

Haha if u click on the link, there’s a whole spiff about it being a breakfast food for them! That Weetabix concoction sounds GREAT!

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Ameena October 16, 2012 at 9:19 am

So funny…I was going to blog about how annoying this commercial is! But seriously, people need a reality check!

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hahah agreed it’s a dumb ad….almost as dumb as the lady who sued!

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Corrie Anne October 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

That’s a little crazy. My favorite way to eat Nutella is WITH A SPOON! :)

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:41 pm

Hahah I’m even willing to take the risk of eating it off a knife :) !

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Jess October 16, 2012 at 11:22 am

Whilst I agree the lawsuit was ridiculous I whole heatedly feel that companies have the upper hand and exploit it. Misleading advertising and advertisements targeting kids for junk food needs to stop. Junky, processed food is way too accessible and effectively marketed. The US is seriously plagued with an obesity epidemic. Education of the consumer is really important so that people read labels and know how to make better choices. But companies need to be accountable and advertise their products honestly. There are few cash registers you can walk past that aren’t covered in candy bars.

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm

I completely agree. At least for the sake of ethics, companies need to be more cautious with the message they send out. Raising awareness, even by a small amount, could probably do wonders in tackling the obesity epidemic!

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Sonal October 16, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Oh my gosh there are few things in life better than Nutella. On. Everything. If this lady was so naiive it makes you wonder what other advertisements she’s believed :)

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 6:20 pm

Haha we should start a club: “Nutella for Life” ;)

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Shreya @ rushofendorphins October 16, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Nutella and I go way back! I used to sit on the countertop and help myself to heaped tablespoonfuls of this when I was younger… tsk tsk tsk tsk and I always wondered why I was overweight! Hahaha

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Khushboo October 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm

Hahah you and me both! I remember too many instances which involved Digestive biscuits/pancakes smothered with Nutella #goodtimes

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Miss Polkadot October 17, 2012 at 12:35 am

Seriously, things like that make me upset at the stupidity respectively brazenness of some people! Why she felt the need to sue Nutella besides making money is beyond me. If it simply was stupidity I’m wondering how many more people thinking like that are out there and if they’ll ever learn.

Sorry for the rant! Nutella/other chocolate spread still is delish and – as you said – can easily be part of a healthy diet.

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Khushboo October 17, 2012 at 11:31 am

I am glad I wasn’t over-reacting….I just think it’s absurd! And my love for Nutella has nothing to do with my opinion ;) !

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Alexis @ Hummusapien October 17, 2012 at 5:04 am

I completely agree. Companies RARELY care about being healthy…they just promote it that way because it’s trendy to be healthy right now. So sad :(

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Khushboo October 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

It’s sad but at the same time, we can’t really blame them…no one is going to voluntarily highlight their negative points!

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Tessa @ Amazing Asset October 17, 2012 at 6:55 am

I have seen this commercial before and thought the exact same thing. Our society is already so misinformed about nutrition and what is truly good for you, verses not at all! We so don’t need messages like this, that are saying wrong info and really, nutella isn’t that great for you! Although very tasty :)

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Khushboo October 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

Very tasty indeed :) !

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Sara @ Nourish and Flourish October 17, 2012 at 11:37 am

I was following this lawsuit for one of my classes last year, but actually never heard the final ruling until reading this post! $3 million compensation?! Crazy! I completely agree with you—consumers should practice practical judgement when deciding what to put in their mouths (and the mouths of their children). Chocolate contains sugar and fat, so it’s not rocket science that Nutella–which is clearly a chocolate spread–does as well. That said, it bothers me that companies continue to saturate the marketplace with semi-misleading messages and claims designed to entice the consumer, especially considering the obesity crisis at hand. I’d much prefer Nutella “celebrate” what it is–an indulgent and delicious treat meant to be enjoyed in moderation. There’s nothing “healthy” about a chocolate hazelnut spread, and that’s okay! Since we live in a free market economy, I do think that companies have the right to frame their advertisements any way they choose, as long as they’re not making false claims. However, I think there’s a line that needs to be drawn between products marketed to adults (as this ad was) and products marketed to children. Kids are *not* informed consumers–nor have they had the opportunity to become informed consumers–and therefore they’re vulnerable and easily manipulated. I think regulations should definitely be established for ads targeted at kids.

Whew…that was probably a much longer response than you wanted! I’m a nerd when it comes to topics like this. ;) Thanks for sharing! xoxoxo <3

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Liz @ I Heart Vegetables October 17, 2012 at 5:13 pm

It’s ridiculous that she got 3MM for “not understanding” a commercial. That’s crazy. And Nutella CAN be part of something healthy…

that said, I remember being disappointed when I LOOKED at the ingredients and saw that it wasn’t actually hazelnut butter in the sense like peanut butter. But… I looked at the ingredients. How hard is that?!

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