Ferrero, the company that makes Nutella, has settled two class-action lawsuits filed in 2011 by consumers who said they felt deceived by the brand’s advertising.
Ferrero is settling the suits with a $2.5 million payout. The funds will be distributed to anyone who bought Nutella between August 2009 and January 2012. That comes out to just about $4 per jar, making it basically equivalent to a refund.
In addition to the settlement payment, Ferrero has also agreed to change its Nutella labelling and stop running the misleading ads that were at the heart of the dispute.
Athena Hohenberg, a San Diego mother, was the lead plaintiff in the case and alleged that Nutella’s ads falsely led her to believe that the yummy spread provided a nutritious breakfast for her kids.
Hohenberg claimed she was “shocked” when she found out that Nutella is really more like melting a candy bar into a jar.
“Ms. Hohenberg was surprised and upset to learn that Nutella was in fact not a ‘healthy, nutritious’ food but instead a product with the nutritional properties of a candy bar, with very high levels of refined sugar and saturated fat,” her complaint read.
“Had Ms. Hohenberg known the truth about Nutella’s qualities, she would not have purchased it for her family.”
She felt “betrayed” that the company misleadingly represented the spread as nutritious in their advertising, and failed to mention that the nutrition of the meals shown in their advertisements were from other foods in the pictures, like whole wheat toast.
The lawsuit noted that Nutella contains about 70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight, along with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and trans fats.
A two-tablespoon serving of Nutella contains 200 calories, about 11 grams of fat (3.5 of which are saturated), and 21 grams of sugar.
A typical chocolate and nut candy bar has around 300 calories and 12 to 16 grams of fat.
As part of the settlement, the front label of Nutella jars will now include info on the fat, sugar and calories of the product. As well, the ads that bothered Hohenberg will be dropped and new ads created.
- Nutella backs off ‘balanced breakfast’ claims after hit with $3-million lawsuit (theglobeandmail.com)
- Nutella isn’t good for you? Say it ain’t so (business.financialpost.com)
- Nutella to Settle Ad Lawsuit For $3 Million (webpronews.com)
- Nutella isn’t good for you, court finds (vancouversun.com)