Nutella sued for false claims

Feb 07, 2011 Published under Health

A Mom in California just sued Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, for falsely claiming that its sugar- and saturated-fat based product  was a healthful solution for kids breakfast.

I love Nutella. It tastes delicious.  But I too was shocked when I saw the recent ad campaign – on the back of the jars and on TV – claiming that Nutella is a wholesome healthful product.   There is nothing wrong with making an indulgent delicious dessert that people should enjoy when they choose to indulge.  But a product whose number one ingredient is refined sugar should not try to claim itself as healthy!

Yahoo! News

US mom sues Nutella alleging hyped nutrition claims

Thu Feb 3, 2:55 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A California mother is taking Nutella to court, alleging that the popular sandwich spread purports to be a nutritious treat, but actually is loaded with unhealthy sugar and saturated fat.

A copy of the suit by Athena Hohenberg which was obtained by AFP on Thursday, said she was "shocked to learn that Nutella was in fact, not ‘healthy, nutritious’ food, but instead was the next best thing to a candy bar, and that Nutella contains dangerous level of saturated fat."

Hohenberg is seeking refunds to be paid by parent company Ferrero to its legions of US customers.

In its marketing, including in claims made on its website, Nutella touts its cocoa and hazelnut spread as ideal for busy moms trying to "nourish their children with whole grains" and says that "Nutella can form a part of a balanced meal."

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.

"Nutella was worth less than what plaintiff and members of the class paid for them," Hohenberg, the mother of a four-year old child, said in her lawsuit, which she hopes to turn into a "class action."

Under the terms of such a class action suit, she asks that any monetary judgment against the company be divided among "all persons who purchased on or after January 2000 one or more Nutella products in the United States for their own or household use."

Hohenberg also wants the court to make Ferrero launch a new ad campaign, correcting the allegedly misleading claims.

Nutella was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker and founder of the Italian Ferrero company.

Its nutrition label shows that there are about 200 calories in each two tablespoon (37 gram) serving, about half of which come from fat.

The suit notes that consumption of saturated fat has been shown to cause heart disease, and that consumption of processed sugar has been shown to cause type-2 diabetes.

Elise Titan, a spokesperson for Ferrero USA, said the company stands by the wholesomeness of its product.

"What we can say right now is that we stand behind the quality of ingredients in Nutella hazelnut spread and advertising for our product," she told AFP.

"It’s really early in the case and we are really not in position to discuss the case any further," she said.

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  1. Rick said:

    I am behind you 100%. However, I have to play devil’s advocate, to an extent. I bought Nutella on the advice of a friend and seeing the commercial. I failed to read the ingredients prior to purchase and bought two jars. After I tasted it I realized that nothing that tastes so good could be healthy. I read the ingredients and was shocked by what I saw.

    Because of this I never let my daughter even try it; there was no sense in getting her hooked on something so unhealthy. It is nothing more than a dessert treat, candy. Well, I have to think that there are candies which are healthier.

    So here comes a quick double sided devil’s advocate;

    1) Purchaser’s need to read labels and be informed. It is our responsibility to buy healthy foods for our families.


    2) There are, unfortunately, many illiterate (literally, not offensively) and/or ignorant (again not meaning it offensively) people who do not understand labels and believe what they see on TV.

    I think a company has a moral obligation to advertise to the masses in an ethical manner. What is the difference between an ethical person and a moral person? The ethical person knows what is right and the moral person does what is right!

    We hammer cigarette companies for the poisons they advertise, are we going to wait until it’s too late to hold companies accountable for pushing unhealthy foods full of sugar and saturated fats and touting them as healthy.

    I hope you get the lawsuit as a class action, if nothing else to force Ferrero to DO the right thing.

    FERRERO, are you a moral company?

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