The New York Times recently published a story about Columbia students stealing Nutella from campus dining services, who was caught in the struggle between offering brands students love and running a profitable business. The school was losing thousands of dollars weekly due to Nutella theft. The saga sounds far from over, but it got us thinking about Nutella and what a popular brand it’s become on this side of the pond.
We attribute some of the Nutella craze to the increasing number of students studying abroad who return with an incurable love for this delicious chocolate-hazelnut spread, but we also recognize their interesting marketing strategy. Nutella markets their product as part of a healthy breakfast, however, it basically has the nutrition content of a melted candy bar. Their description makes it sound wholesome, a “combination of roasted hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa,” but it has 200 calories per 2 Tbsp serving, with 2g protein and 21g of sugar – almost the same as a standard sized milk chocolate Hershey bar (210 calories, 24g of sugar, 3g protein). Even in the office we had to convince a few team members that Nutella isn’t healthy—it’s just marketing! After a little research we discovered there was actually a consumer class action settlement against Nutella for misleading marketing.
While we aren’t going to recommend it as the next health food, we think Nutella is delicious in moderation. Try topping your favorite cereal treats with Nutella as a decadent frosting—because that’s basically what it is!
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