My husband has just asked me if it’s That Time of the Month, but it’s not hormones that have me frothing at the mouth with anger. No, the reason I’m ranting at him like a Baptist preacher on PCP, is the subject of my first blog: the Nutella advert.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a jar of the brown nutty stuff* as much as the next girl. In fact, I generally forgo the bread or toast in favour of a spoon. Cut out the middle man, get straight to the good stuff. So, this isn’t the holier-than-thou rant of a vegan purist or health Nazi.
The issue I have is how this product is marketed to parents as a full-on health food, that should be liberally spread all over your kid’s breakfast toast, to promote healthy, happy kids and generally be a decent parent.
The voice over on the adverts says, cheerfully:
“Nutella contains hazelnuts, cocoa and skimmed milk”.
Furthermore, they say
“Nutella releases energy slowly, so it can be part of a balanced breakfast.”
Now, I’m not a qualified nutritionist but I do read labels, and I’m pretty sure that they may have missed some ingredients out. Such as vegetable oil (fat) and sugar (sugar, dummy).
Food Watch wrote an interesting article about what is actually in Nutella, which only had to be revealed on the label due to stricter labelling laws. You can read it here.
Being that almost a third of 10-11 year olds and over a fifth of 4-5 year olds are overweight or obese**, this seems wholly irresponsible to me. Furthermore, I can’t believe the advert has been allowed to run for as long as it has. At the time of writing, the advert has been banned (finally), but only 53 people complained about the advert. Fair play to the ASA for listening to the concerns of those who complained, but come on – seriously? Only 53 people?
Plus, the damage has already been done now. The message that Nutella is a healthy treat to feed your kids, which only contains a bit of fresh air and some carrot, will have been absorbed into the mass psyche.
You may say that people should take responsibility for what they eat and what they feed their children, and you’d be right – in an ideal world. Unfortunately, it’s an education issue and The Masses tend to get their education from The Mass Media these days. Those who take the time to educate themselves, research and question things don’t need their hands to be held. It’s rather like preaching to the converted.
So, I propose a new strap line for Nutella to consider for their next advertising campaign:
Nutella – so great to eat off a spoon. With lots of sugar and fat, it’s the best way to sedate your angry wife when it’s That Time of the Month.
* Don’t be disgusting – it ‘aint that type of party.
** Source: The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP)