Column - Consumers should accept responsibility for their actions
Published: Monday, April 30, 2012
Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012 00:04
Two mothers from Imperial Beach, California, filed a lawsuit against Ferrero, the company that manufactures the hazelnut and chocolate spread Nutella.
The mothers claimed to have been misled by the brand’s advertising methods portraying Nutella as a nutritious component of a healthy breakfast when, in actuality, it is as nutritious as a butter-slathered Snickers bar.
The mothers filed the lawsuit last February and won the case April 20.
Ferrero stands by its marketing and product, but agreed on a $3 million settlement with the money being distributed to people who purchased the product between January 1, 2008, and February 3, 2012.
Misled consumers have until the end of July to go to www.nutellaclassactionsettlement.com to file a claim and receive payment from the settlement.
The mothers heard Nutella contained "70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight," according to www.nbcsandiego.com, which is now going to lead the brand to change Nutella’s iconic packaging.
This case calls into question the entire purpose of nutrition labels as well as the responsibility of the consumer.
Nutrition labels are supposed to inform the consumer of ingredients, fat, sugar, protein and other nutritional content. It is not the company’s job or responsibility to make the consumer read the label, which makes the point that this case is not entirely fair to the company.
It was wrong for Ferrero to portray Nutella as a healthy condiment; however, for consumers to believe the hazelnut and chocolate spread was a healthy choice is like saying ketchup is a proper substitute for vegetables because it contains tomatoes.
Ultimately, it is up to the consumer to make the proper health choices for their children and for them to make those decisions with adequate information.
For example, Kraft macaroni and cheese claims the food "adds a good source of Calcium and Vitamin D to your children’s menu offerings."
However, one serving of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese dinner, The Cheesiest, packs 260 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 15 mg of cholesterol and 47 grams of carbohydrates.
Despite the claims of adding Calcium and Vitamin D to a child’s diet, no parent in their right mind would think the dish is healthy and serve it to their child without concerns of them becoming overweight.
Aside from food, other products advertised on television prove one cannot believe everything seen on TV.
Take, for example, hygiene products promising a more beautiful and attractive you that only leave your eyelashes clumped, your hair flaky and dry, or you walking around smelling like a bag of not-so-fresh roses.
Other commercials advertise gimmicky products with slick camera angles that make the product appear revolutionary when, in reality, it is as useful as using a fork to shovel snow.
The widely known "Listen Up" is a hearing aid designed to allow people to listen to conversations and other things they are not supposed to hear.
In one of the commercials, an actor portrays a man who can hear what the quarterback is saying from the bleachers. Reviews of the product have shown that ultimately the product does not work.
Commercials on TV are meant to sell a product, and most companies will target a specific audience in any way for their product to sell. If that means portraying a fatty food as something with nutritional value or advertising a pile of plastic as a way to hear secret conversations, so be it.
It is up to the consumer to know better than to trust a commercial. It is their responsibility to look at the facts and, in the Nutella case, read the nutrition label.