Nutella, Italy’s delicious hazelnut (and chocolate) spread, has long been the topping of choice for kids around the world. High in calcium, crammed with nuts, what’s not to like?
I have a confession to make – not only do I love Nutella on my morning slice of wholegrain toast, I’ve always felt I was doing my body a service.
I’ve even been known to have a couple of Nutella servings for desert. Yummy, lots of hazelnuts in my tummy.
Turns out, I’ve been duped. Yes, yes, I’m naïve. But how should I know that a deliciously sweet and creamy chocolate spread is bad for my health?
Don’t hide the ingredients Nutella
Which? has fought battles against the misrepresentation of food products, with Nutella being a key fibber. It’s simple – foods can’t advertise a claim to be healthy if they’re high in unhealthy ingredients, like fat and sugar.
We’ve even succeeded in getting a misleading Nutella ad banned in 2008. Not only did the ad claim that the spread released energy slowly, it also implied that it was made from just hazelnuts, skimmed milk and cocoa powder. In fact, sugar counts for over half its ingredients.
Now Nutella’s creator, Italian chocolate maker Ferrero, is scared nut-less by a new proposal sent to the European Parliament. If approved it’ll stop companies claiming that their products are healthy, when in fact they’re very high in sugar, fat or salt.
What’s the problem Nutella?
Ferrero should actually feel relieved – plans for a traffic light food labelling system have already been shelved (to our disappointment).
But most of Italy isn’t happy. Their love for the hazelnut-chocolate paste runs deep in their arteries. And they feel their cultural icon is in danger, with one government official launching a ‘Hands off Nutella’ committee.
Yet, Nutella won’t be banned and it won’t need warnings telling us it’s unhealthy. All that’s been asked is that children and parents aren’t misled by hidden fat and sugar. And as far as advertisements go, why not just boast that Nutella’s tasty and delicious? Then we can still enjoy it, but know that we shouldn’t gorge ourselves.
Hell, Nutella’s marketing buttered me up and now I’m going to have to work my way through the stacks of Nutella jars in my cupboard to banish its tempting chocolaty-ness. I’m sure I’ll find it a chore…