Nutella Causes Craze at Columbia
Columbia University‘s recent introduction of Nutella to school dining has proved to be overwhelmingly popular, as students are reportedly consuming up to 100 pounds of the hazelnut chocolate spread per day.
Nutella began being offered in Columbia’s dining hall last month after being requested by a student council member. Since that time, students have allegedly been filling containers with Nutella for later use and stealing jars from the campus convenience store.
According to Vicki Dunn, executive director of Columbia’s Dining Services, the school spent $5,000 on Nutella in the first week it was served.
“The demand [for Nutella] has been greater than originally expected,” said Dunn in an email to the Columbia Spectator. “Students have been filling cups of Nutella to-go in Ferris Booth Commons and taking the full jars out of John Jay, which means we’re going through product faster than anticipated.”
Deemed “Nutella-Gate” by Columbia, the university has denied the $5,000 figure provided by Dunn, claiming the costs for the initial week were only around $2,500 and $450 in the weeks to follow.
In a news release, the university made a joke out of the situation. “‘I mean, who can resist a sweet story involving hazelnut spread?’ asked Columbia’s chief digital officer Sree Sreenivasan, a noted Nutella nut and social media maven. ‘I’ve already retweeted this thing in several time zones myself since I assumed it to be true just based on the Nutella consumption in my house.’ (Editor’s note: Sree didn’t say any of this… but he easily could have.)”
However, Columbia officials are happy that the media attention has caused a drop in students taking Nutella to-go.
Nutella-Gate has brought national attention to Columbia and other universities’ expensive meal plans. A meal plan at Columbia, required for freshmen, costs up to $4,726 per year or $10 per meal, according to Daniel Stone, a freshman and associate editor at the Columbia Spectator.
This, Stone says in an opinion piece for the Spectator, causes “ill sentiment” towards dining plans.
“Freshmen realize that something costly and inadequate has been forced upon them. When they find themselves in need of afternoon snacks and balk at the prices at Westside Market, they naturally turn to the dining halls. Why not get some Nutella to go with that $10 swipe? That is how we got in to this mess.”