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.
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?