Shocked That It’s Not Healthy, Mother Sues Nutella and Wins, Because This is America
Early last year, what seemed like a frivolous law suit from a mother claiming Nutella‘s advertising led her to believe the chocolate spread she was feeding her 4-year-old child was healthy, turned out to be not-so-frivolous after all. In fact, the class-action lawsuit has been settled for about $3 million, $2.5 million of which will go to anyone willing to admit they were duped too.
In her statement of claim in the U.S. District Court in California says the mother, Athena Hohenberg, was “shocked to learn” from her friends “that Nutella was in fact not a ‘healthy,’ ‘nutritious’ food but was instead the next best thing to a candy bar.”
Oh, wow, Ms. Hohenberg — looks like your friends know how to read nutrition labels. Shame on those Don Draper ad executive-types for tricking you into believing you should feed your child spreadable chocolate in the morning.
Hohenberg argued that the TV ads falsely promoted Nutella as a healthy breakfast option, omitting the fact that a few tablespoons of the product contains 200 calories, 11 grams of fat and “contains dangerous levels of saturated fat,” and “over 55% processed sugar.”
The suit continued, arguing that the ingredients, “significantly contribute to America’s alarming increase in childhood obesity” and cause cause type-2 diabetes, heart disease, and other “serious health problems.”
Take a look at one of the commercials Nutella airs:
Believe it or not, people thought ads like this were misleading. To be completely frank and as objective as possible, I’m aware of the nutritional makeup of Nutella, but the above ad does a superb job of making me feel good about eating it. Yet, no where in the entire 30-second commercial does the narrator mention the word “healthy.”
The lawsuit levied against Ferrero U.S.A. Inc., the affiliate American brand responsible for Nutella in the States, demands that Ferrero be forbidden from advertising Nutella as “healthy” or “nutritious.” It even asks that a “corrective advertising campaign” be launched.
Frivolous or not, a settlement has been reached for $3.05 million, $2.5 million of which is going to be divided up among consumers willing to file a claim. Be still opportunistic hearts — this isn’t a chance to get rich off the suit. Consumers are eligible to receive up to $4 per jar of Nutella purchased during the specified time period, with a maximum of $20 going to each household.
Ferrero has also agreed to modify their label, certain marketing statements, and even create new television ads.
You did it Athena Hohenberg. Now the general public can learn that Nutella for breakfast is not a substitute for a block of tofu and a glass of water.
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