Class action settlement over health of Nutella approved

Michael P. Tremoglie Apr. 13, 2012, 9:57am

NEWARK, N.J. (Legal Newsline) - An order preliminarily approving a settlement that will give consumers as much as $20 and attorneys as much as $3 million was issued Feb. 3 in a class action lawsuit against Ferrero U.S.A., the maker of Nutella.

The class consists of those who purchased Ferrero's Nutella hazelnut spread. The plaintiffs claimed the company's advertising improperly suggested that Nutella is healthier than it actually is.

Ferrero has denied the allegations and continues to stand by its product and advertising. Nonetheless, the parties agreed to a settlement to resolve this lawsuit. The order was granted by the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.

Purchasers of the product from Jan. 1, 2008 to Feb. 3, 2012, will receive $4 for each jar of Nutella purchased to a maximum total of $20. A settlement fund of $2,500,000 to be paid by Ferrero, for the benefit of Settlement Class Members who do not opt out and who timely complete a valid Claim Form and certify the number of jars of Nutella they purchased.

According to the settlement notice, attorneys' fees of no more than 30 percent of the cash settlement amount inclusive of taxes will be requested by the lawyers representing the class of plaintiffs. They will also request from Ferrero a separate award of attorneys' fees.

This will be separate from the cash settlement. This amount will not exceed $3 million. The total amount of lawyers' fees and costs will be determined by the Court.

Ferrero will also be required to change its labeling for Nutella to prominently display the amount of calories, saturated fat and sugar content of the product; to change its advertising statement from "An example of a tasty yet balanced breakfast" to "Turn a balanced breakfast into a tasty one"; and to replace certain television advertisements and website statements.

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