Mom Wins Class Action Suit Over Nutella’s Misleading Ads
April 30, 2012
Nutella, the much-loved chocolate-hazelnut spread, is definitely delicious, but not a part of a healthy breakfast, since it contains 21 grams of sugar, 200 calories, and 11 grams of fat per serving.
However, last year one California mom fed her 4-year-old daughter Nutella after seeing an advertisement that promoted the sugary spread as a part of a nutritious breakfast. While that claim might have tripped many parents’ B.S. detector, it fooled Athena Hohenberg. Once she found out it wasn’t as healthy as the commercial made it out to be, she proposed a class action lawsuit against Nutella-maker Ferrero USA, Inc.
The case over the spread's purported health claims has recently been settled—and in the mother’s favor. Ferrero has been charged with paying $3.05 million as part of the settlement, with $2.5 million to be divided among consumers who file a claim, reported the NY Daily News.
Anyone in the U.S. who purchased Nutella between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012 (or for Calif. residents between August 1, 2009 and January 23, 2012) can file a claim and expect to receive $4 for a single purchase and a $20 maximum for purchases of up to 5 jars.
Ferrero has also agreed to change its marketing campaign, state the fat and sugar content on the front of the jar, create new television ads, and change the company website.
Despite her winning verdict, Hohenberg has suffered some public backlash by those who believe that she has only herself to blame in falling for the commercial’s ploy. A blog from LA Weekly proclaimed, "Here's a suggestion for the thousands of other litigious California mothers: Try a little responsible parenting. Try reading the labels and understanding what they mean.”
What do think of this ad? Do you think it is a parent’s responsibility to be an informed consumer, or a company’s responsibility to be up front about their product?