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Health and Fitness News Room: For all you Nutella Fans

Posted Apr 27 2012 7:06pm

SPREAD THE WEALTH
By Kayleen Schaefer Friday, April 27, 2012

If you bought Nutella thinking the chocolate hazelnut spread was good for you, you can get $4 back.

That’s thanks to a San Diego woman who sued the makers of the gooey treat for promoting it as a healthy breakfast option.

Ferrero, the Italian company that also owns Ferrero Rocher chocolates and Tic Tac breath mints, has agreed to settle with Athena Hohenberg for $3.05 million — $2.5 million of which will be split among consumers. The initial agreement was reached in January. The deal is expected to be finalized by the courts in July.

Contacted by The Daily, Hohenberg declined to comment.

In her suit, filed in February 2011, Hohenberg said that she had been regularly serving Nutella to her 4-year-old for breakfast. She said she “was shocked to learn” that it “was the next best thing to a candy bar.” She sought an order to stop Nutella from marketing itself as “healthy” and “balanced nutrition.”

“Defendant’s claims regarding Nutella are also false and misleading because they omit that Nutella contains over 55 percent processed sugar, the consumption of which has been shown to cause type 2 diabetes and other serious health problems,” the suit said.

Particularly popular in Europe, especially Italy, Nutella is a breakfast and snack staple. Creative home cooks have been known to use it as a substitute in recipes for chocolate-banana crepes or chocolate thumbprint cookies. Basketball star Kobe Bryant formerly served as the spread’s spokesman. It even has its own fan-started “World Nutella Day.”

The chocolate topping is made with sugar, palm oil and hazelnuts. A few tablespoons of Nutella contain about 200 calories, 11 grams of fat (3.5 grams saturated) and 21 grams of sugar. According to Consumerist.com, “That’s comparable to a Three Musketeers candy bar.”
In the United Kingdom, about 30 complaints were filed over a television commercial promoting Nutella as a family-friendly breakfast food. Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority declined to take any action.

But under its agreement with Hohenberg, Ferrero agreed to modify the Nutella label and certain marketing statements in the United States about the product. The company will also create new television ads and change its website.

The nationwide settlement affects U.S. consumers who bought Nutella between Jan. 1, 2008, and Feb. 3, 2012. In California, the Nutella has to have been bought between Aug. 1, 2009, and Jan. 23, 2012. Disgruntled customers who file a claim can get $4 per jar, with a maximum allowance of five jars, or $20, per household.

To file a claim, visit  www.nutellaclassactionsettlement.com .

Kayleen.Schaefer@thedaily.com
@kayleener

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