Wherein I lose my zen talking about Nutella.

I spend many, many hours a week thinking about food.  I spend hours grocery shopping and putting away groceries, hours preparing meals and cleaning up after meal preparation, hours baking bread and muffins and cookies, hours slicing up fruit and vegetables for school snacks.  I spend a lot of time planning what the kids are going to eat and I feel I am very knowledgeable about nutrition and health.  That is why when I read articles like this one about a woman suing Nutella for wrongful advertising of their product – specifically the claim that Nutella is part of a nutritious breakfast – I feel like the apocalypse is coming. 
Clearly some people simply have a high need for attention that only a high-profile lawsuit can bring.  The lawsuit claims that Nutella contains sugar and saturated fat – which is true – and that it is shown advertised alongside fruit, juice, and whole wheat bread as part of a healthy breakfast – also true – and that together, those are contributing to the North American childhood obesity epidemic.  The lawsuit demands a corrective advertising campaign, and that all earnings from such advertising should be returned to the consumer.  The consumer who, evidently, purchased Nutella in the belief that their lives would like those of the Nutella commercials, with happy, healthy, sporty children being fed by their happy, healthy, sporty mothers. 
I really want to believe the best of people.  I truly want to believe that people are basically good and making the best independent decisions for their children that they are capable of making.  What I do not want to believe is that there is someone out there who was shocked when she, apparently, learned from friends that Nutella was high in sugar and fat.  I guess you would need to learn this from friends if you were completely unable to read the label. 
I have Nutella in my cupboard.  Clearly we don’t eat it very often because I noticed it expired in December 2009, and I will be throwing it out after writing this, but I have purchased Nutella.  As a treat.  At no point did I think that eating Nutella straight out of the jar would be a great breakfast, just as I don’t think that eating Cocoa Puffs or similar to be a great breakfast.  But then, I’m not a moron, and I am able to read nutritional information. 
As an aside, nutritionally Nutella is not that much different from peanut butter, which is a staple in our house, my children being PB&J aficionados.  Per one tablespoon serving, Nutella and peanut butter have the same amount of calories, same amount of fibre, same amount of iron.  Peanut butter has one gram more protein and three grams more fat.  Nutella has 0.5 grams more saturated fat.  Neither have trans fats.  Nutella has 11 grams of sugar per serving, peanut butter has 1, keeping in mind that a glass of milk has 12 grams of sugar.  Essentially, having a breakfast of Nutella on toast would not be that much different from having peanut butter on toast, and if that was served with juice, milk, and fruit?  Not too bad. 
It is very important to do the best for our children in terms of nutrition.  I cook healthy meals every day but allow for treats as well.  Lawsuits like this infuriate me because they waste resources, they are obviously desperate bids for money and the spotlight, and my god, people, if you’re too stupid to read nutritional information then you are too stupid to be taking up valuable space in the news when there are so many more important issues to worry about.
What is really enraging is the inherent belief that purchasing an item will give you the life that you see on a commercial.  Do consumers really believe that their mornings will be smiling, hearty, and unrushed with the purchase of Nutella?  Do they think that the Pillsbury dough boy will pop out of their vacuum packed containers of biscuits and help with dinner, and the Hamburger Helper guy will kick a ball with their kids while they prepare their ground beef meal?  Perhaps these same consumers purchase Cialis in the hopes that they too will be late arriving to the symphony due to newly reawakened unbridled sexual passion.  I guess anything is possible.

Comments

  1. YES. I think of Nutella as chocolate peanut butter. It’s ground-up nuts, so it’s got fat and it’s high in calories, and then they mixed in cocoa (antioxidants!) and some sugar because cocoa isn’t sweetened. This all seems so CLEAR from the label, and even from, you know, LOOKING AT THE PRODUCT, which is CLEARLY CHOCOLATE, or from TASTING the product, which is CLEARLY DELICIOUS in a fat/sugar kind of way. And I like to spread it thinly on 100% stone-ground wheat bread and have it with a glass of skim milk, and by gum I WOULD call that a nutritious breakfast! That lady is a troublemaker and a time-waster and a money-hunter. And I say that without having read WORD ONE of her case, which is what the savvy internet user can do as a shortcut if they want more time to think about delicious, delicious Nutella.

  2. Brilliant, well written post. I really enjoyed reading this, and was nodding my head and shouting “Here, here!”, as I agreed wholeheartedly with what you wrote. (Well, I wasn’t actually shouting, as the kids are in bed, but you get the idea).

    My three year old is currently obsessed with Nutella, and I find myself trying to talk her into peanut butter instead, not because a peanut butter sandwich is nutritionally all that different, but because I worry about her developing a sweet tooth. Because Kraft vs. Nutella, Nutella definitely tastes much sweeter. And when my daughter starts insisting she will only eat her PB sandwich if there is Nutella on there as well, I start to worry.

  3. I agree. Brilliant!

  4. This post is exactly why I grin whenever your blog pops up in my reader. Excellent.

  5. Great post.

    Do you remember those old tv commercials for sugary cereals (ie Sugar Pops, Coco Krispies, etc)? They always used the tag line “part of this nutritionally balanced breakfast,” followed by a photo of a bowl of the cereal, a glass of orange juice, a glass of milk, toast, and an orange. I guess the idea was if you ate enough healthy foods, a bowl of pure sugar isn’t too bad.

  6. I totally agree, in fact, there is a jar of Nutella in my cupboard right now. We don’t have it often but it is good for a treat. I would much rather give my kids some Nutella on toast or some cracker then give them candy. Great post!

  7. You echo my thoughts on this ridiculous lawsuit. We also have nutella in our pantry but we didn’t buy it because we’re so gullible to believe advertising that calls it nutricious. Consumers must be accountable for their choices and not blame sellers for products that get pushed on us daily.

    The worst part of this lawsuit – she’ll probably win a landmark decision. It seems the US wants to blame every one but their citizens for their growing obesity problem.

  8. Scott and I had a very similar conversation about the person suing Taco Bell over their ground beef. Really, people? Really?

  9. Great post Nicole. It is so true that we need to read the labels. It is our responsibility as parents to know what we are feeding our kids. My kids like nutella and we use it as a treat for them, not breakfast. But kids are seeing these ads on television and believing it to be true. My oldest DD has a sweet tooth and would eat Nutella all the time if I allowed it. Her argument at the tender age of 10 is that if they say on the commercials that it’s healthy why can’t she have it? I will say that the commercial does bother me. Perhaps this is why we have such a problem with childhood obesity in Canada being on the rise. Our kids are clearly getting the wrong message. While I don’t agree with the lawsuit, maybe a petition would work better in getting the point across to the companies ( not just Nutella) that this is not okay. There does need to be a change in the way things are advertised to children.

  10. Totally agree!

    And even with comparing it to peanut butter, many of the brand name peanut butters have more sugar bringing them more in line with Nutella. And when you include a little jam on your pb toast (which is basically 100% sugar) I bet you are higher on calories and sugars.

  11. I have come to the realization that people are just stupid…and money hungry.
    Money drives people to do stupid things.
    Also, I think nutella is revolting.

  12. Oh for chrissakes. Pardon me while I track that woman down, kick her in the head and bury her in a pit full of Nutella. We have Nutella and peanut butter because my kids won’t eat peanut butter (my first love), and there’s essentially NO FREAKING DIFFERENCE. Wait — does this mean my period isn’t going to make me feel like I’m dancing in a field of white flowers with a gauzy white shawl too? Clearly some people are too stupid to be allowed to watch commercials. And I’ve pretty much given up on the people are basically good. There’s a short list of People Who Don’t Suck. The rest of humanity are asshats.

  13. It is amazing how stupid people can be sometimes. That lawsuit is just plain idiotic. Grocery stores are full of false advertising. Ugh.

  14. Nan – I DO remember those commercials. They were very funny. Balanced breakfast – if you include two eggs, milk, fruit, and some whole grain toast.

    No Whey – I know. Really. The price alone indicates that it would not be beef! Sheesh.

    Bibliomama – I don’t know about you, but when it’s my period I do dance with white shawls, play tennis, and ride a lot of horses.

    Patty – I think the onus is on us, as parents, to make sure our kids know that things are not as they appear on TV, not just nutritionally, but also “amazing” toys and games.

  15. Ever since I bought Nutella for my household life has been wonderful. Every morning we are gently awoken by the chirping of birds. When we wake there’s smiles on every one’s face and the clock actually stops. We have the luxury of sipping our coffees and spending quality time together. When, and only when we decide to start the clocks back up, we happily and agreeably get ready for school/work.

    And if you believe that than you’d also believe that this lawsuit is valid!

    Great post Nicole!!

  16. As always, I wanted to cheer when I read your post.

    Thank you for visiting me on my SITS day.

    LisaDay

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