“Every jar has wholesome quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of delicious cocoa. And Nutella has no artificial ingredients or preservatives.“
This is the refrain of the mother in a frequently aired Nutella commercial currently appearing across Canada and the United States. It is not a surprise that kids love having Nutella for breakfast — it tastes just like chocolate icing. But is it truly part of a healthy breakfast like the advertisements claim?
I’m a mom and I didn’t believe the hype. Although my kids love Nutella and get to eat it for breakfast when we are on vacation, I wasn’t ready to start making part of a “nutritious breakfast” in our home and I didn’t think Nutella’s claims could be accurate. So when I was out grocery shopping, I read the label, and sent out a tweet with my findings: “Nutella ads brag about nutritious ingredients like nuts, skim milk, touch of cocoa. But – 1st ingredients listed are sugar + palm oil” [January 9 - @phdinparenting via twitter].
It seems I’m not the only one who was upset about these claims. Athena Hohenberg, a San Diego mother of a four year-old, took her complaints further than twitter. She filed a class action lawsuit against Ferrero International, the makers of Nutella, in U.S. District Court in California this week.
According to the Globe and Mail, Hohenberg was “shocked to learn from friends that Nutella was in fact not a ‘healthy’, ‘nutritious’ food, but was instead the next best thing to a candy bar.” According to her lawsuit, Nutella “contains dangerous levels of saturated fat” and “over 55% processed sugar.” Hohenberg is demanding, among other things, that Ferrero be forbidden from advertising Nutella as healthy or nutritious and that it launch a corrective advertising campaign.
Annie blogs about the art and science of parenting at the PhD in Parenting blog.
Photo credit: janineomg on flickr