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France’s Nutella Tax: Measuring Austerity in Hazelnuts and Chocolate

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Nutella by Kazunori Matsuo on Flickr

Photo by Kazunori Matsuo on Flickr

In an effort to encourage healthier food choices and reduce obesity, France has taken aim at Nutella, a chocolate-hazelnut Italian spread, by attempting to raise the tax on palm oil 300%.

Nutella contains palm oil, which has been linked to cholesterol and other health problems because of its high saturated fat content. The French love their Nutella, consuming 26% of the spread produced worldwide.

The French Senate and lower house still have to vote on the so-called “Nutella Amendment” to the bill that funds social security; the tax is estimated to raise approximately $50 million.

Frederic Thil, Ferrero’s top official in France, has stated that the company has no plans to change ingredients; the new tax reportedly wouldn’t affect prices on individual jars very much.

Here in America earlier this year, Nutella recently settled a lawsuit alleging false advertising in particular about its health claims:

The suit has settled for about $3 million, with a $2.5 million available for distribution to consumers who are eligible to receive a payment; class members may receive up to $4 per jar of Nutella bought during the specified time frame (between August 1, 2009 and January 23, 2012 in California or between January 1, 2008 and February 3, 2012 in all other states), for a maximum of $20 per household.

Moreover, according to the settlement, “Ferrero also has agreed to prospective relief by agreeing to modify the Nutella label, modify certain marketing statements about Nutella, create new television ads, and change the Nutella website.”

The lawsuit had noted that Nutella contained “’about 70 percent saturated fat and processed sugar by weight,’” and would therefore contribute to problems of obesity and high cholesterol levels — far from being “nutritious.”

What do you think of the Nutella tax in France?

Would you support similar taxes intended to encourage healthier food choices here in America?

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December 1st, 2012 at 8:53 am

Posted in Taxes

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