Chocolate for Breakfast?

Chocolate is one of the top 10 breakfast trends named by the Food Channel, based on its research in conjunction with Culture Waves, the International Food Futurists and Mintel International.  You may think of Cocoa Puffs from your  youth, but there are lot more chocolate breakfast cereals on the shelf these days, including Chocolate Cheerios, Frosted Mini Wheats and Special K. Just take a look at all these chocolate cereals from Candy Addict.

3245576460_849e0c9bf5_bimage courtesy of nettsu on flickr

But we’re not just talking cereal, chocolate has become a bona fide adult trend too, according to the Food Channel.  It was one of the breakout stars at the Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, which featured  chocolate tea, hot chocolate on a stick, chocolate belgian waffles and pancakes, and chocolate granola.  Lots more ideas are in the book dedicated to the topic:  Chocolate for Breakfast by Barbara Passino.

249730548_b90a8a9a1a_zchocolate belgian waffles by irrational_cat on flickr

4101334251_e01b19e512_bchocolate pancakes by isabellacester on flickr

6026084523_87302703a1_bchocolate breakfast cake with peanut butter cream cheese by Brown Eyed Baker on flickr

6838045811_923b79ba77_bchocolaté croissant by Castle Vision Photographic on flickr

6291862235_243401faa7_bchocolate mint breakfast by onesmileahead on flickr

hot chocolate on a stick by Ode to Inspiration on flickr

One chocolate breakfast food that got in hot water recently is Nutella.  Maybe you heard about the $3 million  class-action lawsuit that Nutella-maker Ferrero agreed to settle for marketing the chocolate-hazelnut spread as a healthy breakfast for kids.

6054469918_59c5cbf3ec_bimage courtesy of Helen Chang on flickr

The claim was filed by California mom Athena Hohenberg who said she was deceived by the ads for Nutella that promoted the spread as a nutritious breakfast.  She had been feeding her 4-year-old daughter Nutella in the morning until she learned from friends that it was “the next best thing to a candy bar,” according to court documents. Here are the words that got Italy’s Ferrero in trouble:

“[MOM]: As a mom, I’m a great believer in Nutella, a delicious hazelnut spread that I use to get my kids to eat healthy foods. I spread a little on all kinds of healthy things, like multigrain toast. Every jar has wholesome, quality ingredients, like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of delicious cocoa. And Nutella has no artificial colors or preservatives. It’s quick, it’s easy, and at breakfast I can use all the help I can get.

[VOICEOVER]: Nutella—breakfast never tasted this good.”

How I see it, read the label Athena.  Don’t blame the advertising.  Don’t let someone else decide if something is a smart choice to serve your daughter in the morning.  Pick up the jar and turn it around.  See that each two-tablespoon serving contains 21 grams of sugar and half the 200 calories come from fat. Yes, maybe it is similar to a candy bar.  Is Nutella on whole-grain toast better than a chocolate donut?  Yes.  Is it better than whole-grain cereal and milk? No.   Nutella is a beloved food in Europe and increasingly here in the U.S.  There’s even a World Nutella Day on February 5 to celebrate the chocolate-hazelnut spread worldwide. Was it a good idea to promote the spread as a healthy breakfast food for kids?  I don’t think so.  But let’s leave lawsuits out of this.  As Forbes wrote: Nutella case proves that stupid people can have smart lawyers.

Here’s the commercial so you can see for yourself.  What do you think?

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