So What’s the Matter With Nutella?

9k=Like the woman who received $2 million for spilling a cup of McDonald’s coffee on her lap, we are again amazed by the successful Nutella class-action lawsuit waged by two women who were upset that the product did not live up to its claim. No matter what you think about the case, or the ethics of false advertising, the obvious point is that had the women actually read the label before they made the purchase, they would have known right away that it was not a healthy choice.

Let’s look at the Nutella label. Of course, in general, it is a good idea to look at the numbers. How many calories does the product contain? How many grams of saturated fat? How many grams of sugar? With this product, however, the real clue to its detrimental nature is found on the ingredients list. That is, the first ingredient listed denotes the primary composition of the food as ingredients must be listed in descending order, and the first ingredient here is sugar. Unless the product you are examining is sugar, the first ingredient should not be. The second ingredient in this case is modified palm oil, which is quite a controversial substance. Some have called it a sort of trans fat. Whether modified palm oil is detrimental is not the issue. That it is the second largest ingredient in the Nutella jar means that there is probably little that is healthy in the product.

Do you see the point? The lawsuit premised on the fact that women unknowingly purchased what they thought was a healthy food for their children only means that they did not bother to read the label. If they had, they would have noticed that they were largely giving their children sugar. The lesson here is that labeled food products give us lots of information. If we read the labels, and understand them, we will know whether a food product is a good choice.