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Nutella’s Labels Make It Seem More Healthy Than It Is

Nutella’s Labels Make It Seem More Healthy Than It Is

It probably comes as no surprise to hear that Nutella, the chocolate and hazelnut spread that tastes more like frosting, chocolate sauce and all those things that aren’t exactly healthy, is not good for you. The labels on Nutella suggest that it contains high percentages of vitamins and minerals (40 and 78 percent) but a low percentage of fats and carbohydrates (7 and 3 percent). But German consumer advocates point out that the fat and carbohydrate content  on Nutella’s labels is based on a 15-gram portion, while the vitamin and mineral content is based on a 100-gram portion.

In other words, to get the nutrition benefits of Nutella proclaimed on the label, you would have to eat a quarter of a jar of Nutella.

A German court in Frankfurt has ruled that Ferrero, which manufactures Nutella, must change the label or incur a fine of 250,000 euros per transgression. The labels for fats and carbohydrates are printed in a different color than those for vitamins and minerals but, as consumer advocates point out, people would “not generally have the time while shopping to realize the difference between the measures referred — creating a relevant deceit.”

Ferraro Deutschland argued (not surprisingly) that it  feels the current labels are sufficiently clear and plans to appeal the court’s decision. The company also said that it will change the labels at the end of the year.

Other Ferraro products have come under fire by consumer advocate groups for containing misleading nutritional information:

Ferrero’s KinderRiegel little chocolate bars are sold with the slogan, “Extra portion of milk with much good calcium” – but consumer protection group Foodwatch has calculated that a child would have to eat 13 of the bars to get a daily requirement of calcium. This would also involve consuming the equivalent of 48 cubes of sugar and half a packet of butter, the group claimed.

The popular Milch-Schnitte bars, also made by Ferrero have too come under fire from Foodwatch, which has described them as “calorie bombs.”

Germany’s Ministry of Consumer Protection is starting a new website, — the name translates to something like “food transparency” — through which consumers can submit the names of foods that they find misleading.

In addition, consumer advocates have critiqued Ferraro for its sponsorship of sporting events and its use of athletes (including Germany’s national soccer team) in its advertising as doing so creates a link between “fundamentally unhealthy products” and sports and health.

Nutella definitely tastes good. But so does a candy bar — and consumers need to be aware that there’s not much of a difference between the two.

Related Care2 Coverage

Is Cheap Chocolate Frosting Healthier Than Nutella?

Taking Nutella to Court Over Nutritional Claims

Do You Know What You’re Eating? FDA Should Label GE Foods




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"The healthy spread": Photo by Markusraum

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11:36AM PST on Dec 23, 2012

Thank you for sharing.

11:14AM PDT on Sep 20, 2012

I never liked Nutella. I always prefered peanut butter and that with moderation. Thanks for the article.

3:48PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012


3:48PM PDT on Aug 7, 2012


12:36PM PDT on Jul 11, 2012

MMMM. Nutella! I love to mix it with peanut butter or cream cheese and put it on a bagel~

1:46PM PDT on Jun 2, 2012

Personally I cannot stand Nutella. When I was a child my mother used to buy a chocolate spread that was dark in colour and strongly chocolate. It has been a few years since then (okay quite a few years) and I cannot find anyone who sells what I assume was a plain-chocoate spread - if I did maybe I wouldn't like that either but I wouldn't mind giving it a go.

8:07PM PST on Dec 2, 2011

I have not tried this. A chocolate sandwich sounds awful to me.

12:00AM PST on Nov 27, 2011

Also extremely high in sugar.

12:41PM PST on Nov 26, 2011

somehow I doubt that woman got fat from nutella.

11:45PM PST on Nov 25, 2011

This is what they're worried about? Sure, labels shouldn't be allowed to state different counts for different portions, but if anyone thought they were relying on Nutella for their daily vitamins and minerals, that's their fault. And the chocolate bar label about calcium in NO WAY claims that you should be relying on it as your daily source of calcium! Again, anyone who would assume such a thing is not making any reasonable conclusion at all. I'm surprised at the comments like Sam T's, who states that she buys it as a "junk food" anyway, which it is, so how does this non-news change anything? It doesn't!

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