San Diego, CA: Nutella, the hazelnut and chocolate spread created by an Italian company and marketed to North Americans, is the target of a consumer fraud lawsuit ignited by a Mom from California after she began to doubt its claims as a healthy and nutritious food. According to the statement of claim, Athena Hohenberg was shocked to hear that Nutella was, in fact, little different than feeding candy to her four-year-old.
"Just look at their website," says Ron Marron, a San Diego lawyer representing Hohenberg and other class members, "they make outrageous claims."
"It is false advertising and an unfair business practice," says Marron. "They are advertising this as healthy, and Nutella knows it isn't."
"Nutella has marketed itself as 'Europe's peanut butter' made from hazelnuts and a little bit of dark chocolate." However, Marron says, nothing could be further from the truth.
In the statement of claim, the suit alleges that Nutella contains over "55 percent processed sugar and dangerous levels of saturated fat."
Nutella is manufactured in the US by Ferrerro USA, a subsidiary of the Italian company Ferrerro International. A Nutella spokesperson recently told The Wall Street Journal that it "stands behind the quality and ingredients of Nutella and the advertising of its product."
Marron believes that the discovery process will reveal internal communications that show a company anxious to market its hazelnut and chocolate spread to children in North America, and anxious to convince parents Nutella can be part of a "balanced diet."
"I don't like the way they market this product to kids," says Marron, from the Law Offices of Ron Marron. "The company says this stuff is healthy, but it just isn't."
"And when you are a foreign corporation and you come into a country and use a different formula to manufacture your product, I think that is a problem," says Marron. "I think that the science will show us that the formula in North America is less wholesome here than it is even in Italy and Europe."
"Nutella doesn't abide by our advertising laws and markets the stuff to kids and parents as nutritious. I think that is a problem too," he adds.
The suit asks the court to force Nutella to discontinue marketing itself as a healthy food and asks that everyone who purchased Nutella be reimbursed for the cost of the product.
That could be millions of Americans, many of whom bought the product multiple times. "Yes, that's true," says Marron. "But I think anyone who bought this product with a false label on it should be able to get their money back."
Ron Marron is a veteran attorney who won a number of significant verdicts and settlements for clients. He is currently litigating a class-action consumer lawsuit against Quaker Oats for its nutritional claims. Marron has expertise as a securities and investments attorney, and has successfully represented clients in disputes over variable annuities, medical insurance, broker misrepresentation and negligence, and other related financial issues.
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Nutella Has Been Served—with a Lawsuit
|. By Brenda Craig|
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