Mom Takes Nutella to Court for False Advertising

February 11, 2011
Kate Gamble

A California mother is suing the makers of the popular sandwich spread Nutella, alleging that although the product claims to be healthy, it is anything but.

A California mother is suing the makers of the popular sandwich spread Nutella for false advertising. According to Fox News and several other sources, Athena Hohenberg is alleging that the popular sandwich spread purports to be a nutritious treat, but actually is loaded with unhealthy sugar and saturated fat.

A copy of the suit, which was obtained by AFP on Thursday, said 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."

Hohenberg is seeking refunds to be paid by parent company Ferrero to its legions of US customers.

In its marketing, including in claims made on its website and in commercials, Nutella touts its cocoa and hazelnut spread as ideal for busy moms trying to "nourish their children with whole grains" and says that "Nutella can form a part of a balanced meal."

The ingredients listed on the product’s website include sugar, palm oil, hazelnuts, cocoa, skim milk, reduced minerals whey, lecithin as emulsifier (soy), vanillin: an artificial flavor.

The suit, filed in federal court in San Diego, alleges that many consumers of the product would not have purchased it had they been aware that the health claims surrounding it were overblown.

"Nutella was worth less than what plaintiff and members of the class paid for them," Hohenberg, the mother of a four-year-old child, said in her lawsuit, which she hopes to turn into a "class action."

Under the terms of such a class action suit, she asks that any monetary judgment against the company be divided among "all persons who purchased on or after January 2000 one or more Nutella products in the United States for their own or household use."

Hohenberg also wants the court to make Ferrero launch a new ad campaign, correcting the allegedly misleading claims.

For more:

  • Et Tu, Nutella? (Wall Street Journal)
  • A Mom Sues Nutella Maker for Deceptive Advertising (NPR)
  • Suit Claims Plaintiff Shocked to Learn Nutella Was ‘Next Best Thing to a Candy Bar’ (ABA Journal)
  • Mom sues Nutella alleging hyped nutrition claims (Calgary Herald)