Just when I thought I’d heard it all in terms of ridiculous lawsuits, I read about this California mother who is suing Nutella because it isn’t healthy.
What the heck? Is this really what we have come to? Who on earth thought that Nutella was health food to begin with, anyway? The lawsuit is claiming that Nutella is high in saturated fat. Of course it’s high in saturated fat; the main ingredients are sugar, oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, and milk. Guess what else is high in saturated fat? Peanut butter. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised when I hear about peanut butter manufacturers on the receiving end of a lawsuit next. Apparently Nutella claims to be a nutritious treat. Well, don’t all manufacturers of processed, unhealthy snack food claim that their product is in some way good for you? Sugary cereal proudly advertises on its brightly colored box that it is “fortified with vitamins!” and “contains whole grains!” Juice cocktails lure you in with their claims that they “contain real fruit juice!” which is technically true, except that it comes after the water and high fructose corn syrup.
There are many manufacturers in the world who go to great lengths to cover up the items included in their product, but Nutella and other snack food have their not-particularly-healthy ingredients displayed right on the label. The woman who filed the lawsuit said that she was “shocked to learn that Nutella was in fact, not ‘healthy, nutritious’ food, but instead was the next best thing to a candy bar, and that Nutella contains dangerous level of saturated fat.”
Well I’m not shocked at all to learn that. Nutella says on its label that the ingredients are sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey (milk), lecithin as emulsifier (soy), and vanillin, an artificial flavor. The ingredients of a Snickers Bar are milk chocolate, peanuts, corn syrup, sugar, skim milk, butter, oil, lactose, salt, egg whites, and artificial flavor. Look at the first five ingredients – the candy bar is really not very different from Nutella.
Intentionally misleading marketing is something that really bothers me, but come on. If we’re going to start making an example of companies for using misleading marketing, let’s not start with Nutella, a treat that’s honestly not even that bad for you compared to many other snacks that our society is stuffing into its collective mouth at every chance. There are lots of tasty and disgustingly-bad-for-you treats available, and if you choose to offer some foods that are more fun than nutritious, you need to make an informed choice about which ones you’ll choose for your family. The last source a person should rely on for information is a television advertisement for a snack food!
We need to have some basic knowledge of nutrition so that we can read the ingredients in a food and then make an informed choice about eating that food. There are so many sketchy, questionable products in the world. Why not point fingers at the manufacturers of HFCS, food dye, or bleached flour? It’s seriously beyond me why someone would be outraged that chocolate hazelnut spread is “the next best thing to a candy bar.” If you are concerned enough about nutrition that you don’t want your family eating sugar and chocolate with their nuts, you need to have the ability to choose packaged foods based on their ingredients. Don’t rely solely on the word of the manufacturer, and for the love of Pete please don’t start throwing lawsuits around at companies that aren’t even making a good attempt at lying about their products nutritional value.
I’ll be the first person to shake my first at corporations that tell us lies, but this is the kind of story that only makes main-stream people roll their eyes at those of us who are genuinely interested in better nutrition.