Remember those ads for Nutella, that gross chocolate spread? It showed a lovely mother spreading it on toast for her lovely kids. A glass of milk sat close by, and the voiceover told you that Nutella was part of a healthy breakfast. Oh, how I laughed. I mean, I hate the crap, and my kids do too. I bought it once, and it sat there. It was gross. But part of a healthy breakfast, my ass. Even my cat glanced at the TV and said "healthy? For realz?". Well, she might have.
Anyway. The ad ran for years. But it's finally caught up to them, and the company has to pay out for misleading consumers.
Let us consider products that should send alarms bells singing. Diet Bacon. Okay, that's the only one I can think of right now. My back is sore from assuring my tango teacher than I can bend over backwards, literally, like I'm a marionette and someone just chopped my strings. It is a lovely and dramatic effect, but one that is rendering me incapable of moving without wincing afterwards. The things I do for sport.
If you see something called Diet Bacon, you'd start laughing. I used to buy the kids turkey bacon because I thought I was saving them from a plate full of sludgy fat and salt. I do not like bacon, so what did I care? They called it Facon. The imposter was not a success. But if I buy real bacon, straight off the pig, I am totally aware there is no way to make that a healthy part of any breakfast. So, Nutella? How stupid are you? Call it part of a fun breakfast. Call it part of a chocolate breakfast. Call it part of a conspiracy that makes us believe we have to care what our kids will and will not eat. Miserable little bastards. Siddown and shut up, there are kids in parts of Africa eating dirt.
But mostly? How about stupid people stop making other people pay because they are stupid? Read the label, accept that you are responsible for what your kids put in their mouths, and act accordingly. People sue McDonalds for making them fat. Don't make me dig up the link, but was a couple of years back two women sued them. These women ate at McDonalds daily for years and got fat. Ya think? This is McDonalds fault. Their advertising and marketing is too good. And they aim it at kids.
Well, hell, their logo is a big old creepy clown and other odd cartoon characters, their subtle corporate colours are red and yellow, and they give out toys! Of course they're marketing to kids. And those kids have parents, who are supposed to be able to say "no, eat your broccoli" and if Junior gets all pissy, you could always package broccoli as part of a homemade Happy Meal, though I'm uncertain what kind of toy you should include. Maybe a shoelace, or a calculator.
These lawsuits are not paying out because they make bad products (even if they do), and they're not paying out because their advertising is misleading (even if it is); they're paying out because people are stupid.
I make bad food decisions on many days. Not so much lately, because the man who is giving me a new body, Adam Higson, is barking at me to cut carbs. I asked him what those were, and burst into tears when I heard him outlaw potatoes. I cried. I love peasant food. But we are drinking a lot of slurpees in this house, and I feel healthier just looking at the blender. Except for my back, of course. Without Adam, I would no doubt be doing my usual: pulling up to a combination salt lick/wine bar.
Free will. Choice. Literacy. Access to (compared to the rest of the world) cheap food. And you're gonna sue Nutella for being chocolate?