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Vincent Iannelli, M.D.

Lessons from the Nutella Lawsuit

By May 6, 2012

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Nutella - Photo by Inga Beretta / Creative CommonsIt's a little surprising that the recent lawsuit over the Nutella TV commercials has people on different sides of the issue.

While many people agree that the commercials were probably misleading in depicting Nutella, the chocolate hazelnut spread, as healthy, despite that it has a lot of sugar and fat, they don't see how anyone could have fallen for the whole Nutella as a healthy breakfast spiel.

The moms who brought the class action lawsuit against Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, have won a $3 million settlement though. If you bought Nutella in California between August 1, 2009 and January 23, 2012, or in other states between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012, you may be eligible to receive a payment from the Nutella class action settlement.

More importantly, "Ferrero also has agreed to prospective relief by agreeing to modify the Nutella label, modify certain marketing statements about Nutella, create new television ads, and change the Nutella website."

Sounds like there may be a lesson for everyone in this story. We all need to read the nutrition labels to know what we are eating and what we are feeding our kids. That is especially important at is often just a small number of extra calories each day that can add up extra weight gain and problems with child obesity.

On the other hand, it is not a terrible idea to use a product like Nutella to get your picky eater to eat other healthier foods. Nutrition experts often recommend that parents use "dippers" to help get kids to eat raw vegetables, like broccoli, carrots, or cauliflower, etc., and fruit chunks. Parents can use low-fat yogurt, low-fat ranch dressing, cheese, and even peanut butter as a dip for fruits and vegetables that kids won't eat by themselves.

What about Nutella for breakfast? If it helps your kids eat whole wheat bread and drink a glass of low-fat milk, when they normally wouldn't, and keeps them from eating a big bowl of sugary cereal, then why not? You can almost certainly find healthier breakfast alternatives though, and could just offer Nutella as a special treat, or just skip it.

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May 10, 2012 at 11:26 pm
(1) Bruce says:

Only in America would such a frivolous lawsuit ever come up.

Was the mother so stupid that she fed it to her kids three times a day as their main course? Of course not! She probably figured there was a way to make a quick buck here. No doubt the lawyers laughed all the way to the bank.

This is just sick. Judges helping out their fellow lawyers!

May 11, 2012 at 8:44 am
(2) Vincent Iannelli, MD says:

It was a class action lawsuit. All she got was some extra Nutella, like everyone else who bought Nutella at that time. Considering all of the time she likely spent on this, I would hardly think it was a ‘quick’ buck, although she literally only made a little more than a buck.

“Judges helping out their fellow lawyers!”

Weren’t there lawyers on both sides of the case?

May 14, 2012 at 8:59 pm
(3) Belle says:

You people aren’t aware that the company behind nutella has a track record of false advertising! They did all they can to make their stuff look healthy and you blame people for blelieving them?


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