Spectrum | Mar. 7 1:54 pm EST
spread-ing the news

University says Nutella cost $2,500 in first week, less than $500 after

A. Kniesel / Wikimedia Commons

In a move no public affairs officer thought they’d ever have to do, Dining Services has released the breakdown of the cost of Nutella, and apparently it’s not $5,000. On Tuesday, Columbia College Student Council representatives told Spectator that Dining Services director Vicki Dunn told them that the weekly tab for the nutty spread was running close to $5K. Dining declined to provide specific numbers for that article.

But after the national news media picked up the story last night, the University has changed course, claiming that the cost of Nutella during the first week it was served in February was about $2,500. Since then, the price tag has climbed down significantly, to about $450 per week.

We’ve asked Dining what could have led to the $5,000 figure. In the mean time, read the press release, titled—we’re not joking—“NUTELLA-GATE EXPOSED: It’s a Smear! Says Columbia,” after the jump.

NUTELLA-GATE EXPOSED:  It’s a Smear! Says Columbia

Columbia University officials today denied press reports claiming that campus dining halls were running rivers of nut-brown ink to the tune of $5,000 per week in allegedly pilfered Nutella.

Columbia Dining Services emphasized the mundane fact that the ongoing weekly cost of Nutella supply is actually less than one-tenth the purported amount originally reported on a student blog and quickly picked up by other media.  It is true that in the first 3-4 days after Nutella was recently added to the dining hall selections, demand was indeed extraordinarily high, with students enjoying a large amount in that initial short period.  However, the actual cost was only about $2,500, and quickly went down to $450 per week for dining halls that serve some 3,600 students, seven days a week at three locations.  Ironically the media attention to Nutella-gate has cut down on the amount people have been taking in recent days.




  1. anon • March 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm • Reply

    A student from the council said it was 5000 a week, no one else did.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 17 votes)
  2. the guy • March 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm • Reply

    didn’t make it up! He got it from Dining, which sounds like it’s getting panicky.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +12 (from 32 votes)
  3. this is a fucking • March 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm • Reply

    PR move by nutella company

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +9 (from 17 votes)
  4. Concerned Customer • March 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm • Reply


    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +16 (from 16 votes)
  5. Quick question • March 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm • Reply

    Can you guys stop censoring comments? It says 6 comments at the top, but there’s only five here because you deleted a comment that was critical. That’s pretty unprofessional.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -11 (from 21 votes)
    • Finn Vigeland STAFF • March 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm • Reply

      We’re not censoring comments. The first “comment” was a pingback from the Bwog post that links to here. WordPress likes to call it a comment, even though it’s not.

      VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +24 (from 24 votes)
    • anon • March 8, 2013 at 6:48 am • Reply


      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  6. spread-ing the news • March 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm • Reply


    on a serious note, pretty sure dining fucked this one up and is just trying to cover its tracks now by blaming council members who have zero reason to lie or fudge figures

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +8 (from 10 votes)
  7. EJ • March 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm • Reply

    According to the original Spectator story, the $5,000 figure was a second-hand quote from Dining as relayed to a student on the Council, which Dining refused to confirm or deny. While not as strongly sourced as it might have been, it sounds line Dining ultimately has to take the blame for not shooting down the story when it had the opportunity.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +10 (from 10 votes)
  8. anon • March 7, 2013 at 6:51 pm • Reply

    Spec (or anybody) should not be printing information unless it is from confirmed and reliable sources. A janitor saying,” wow, those Columbia kids eat a lot of Nutella,” does not constitute a reliable source.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: -4 (from 10 votes)
    • CC 15 • March 7, 2013 at 7:28 pm • Reply

      A student council representative on the dining advisory committee who met with Vicki Dunn constitutes a pretty reliable source, plus Spec noted that dining declined to comment.

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +9 (from 13 votes)
  9. fuck dining • March 8, 2013 at 12:11 am • Reply

    the quality of food seriously needs improvement here. students are charged 11-14 dollars per meal. at the very latest the food should be of a decent quality, not the nasty cheap and repetitive food that is served now. i think that dining uses student hoarding as an excuse for serving low quality food. they exploit and exaggerate student hoarding in order to justify serving food of lower caliber and of lower variety. i would like to see a full breakdown of dinings budget and how students meal plan costs are really being spent.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +3 (from 3 votes)
  10. HS • March 8, 2013 at 10:58 am • Reply

    How can something “climb down”?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
    • Anonymous • March 9, 2013 at 5:08 pm • Reply

      After a climber climbs a mountain, they are at the botto

      VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
      Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)
  11. zb • March 8, 2013 at 11:50 am • Reply

    Does it mean students will be getting the lobster tails mentioned in the original article after all?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Leave a Comment

Be nice. Don't use HTML tags. And consider reading our full comment policy.