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How Much Is That Nutella Really Costing Us?


Wait is this not how you eat Nutella….? Weird…

By now you’ve probably heard about Columbia’s issues with Nutella. As campus comes to terms with the fact that we’re all apparently hoarders, the Nutella story continues to grow. Our chocolatey addiction and its exorbitant cost has received a surprising amount of attention, causing us at Bwog to wonder: how much of this is really our fault? Is there no cheaper way to fund our love? With some handy back-of-the-envelope calculations, Bwog attempts to get to the bottom of the Nutella crisis.

Dining has finally released a statement to Spec about Nutellagate:

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.

But those numbers don’t tell us anything about the per-ounce cost of the European magic spread. We’ll have to use Dining’s original numbers—$5,000 per week for 100 pounds per day—to determine if Dining Services is being screwed over, thus screwing us and our rising tuition. In any case, we want to showcase the one time we did math this semester.

Though Bwog thinks any price is a good price to pay for the only thing that has ever helped Bwog get through a break-up, whoever’s paying your tuition might disagree. Dining chalks up the exorbitant price to thieving students, which yes, makes sense, but let’s take a short dive into Dining’s original numbers:

  • 100 pounds per day = 11,200 ounces per week
  • $5,000/11,200 = $0.44 per ounce

Only forty-four cents per ounce to get your fix? That seems about right, right? Wrong. Bwog called up the first food distributor we could find in the tri-state area that carries Nutella in bulk. The nice lady on the phone told us they charge $3.45 for each the 13 oz. jars they sell in bulk. Using that price then:

  • $3.45/13 = $0.26 per ounce

Using that per ounce price, Columbia’s Nutella habit, while still costly, seems far less explosive:

  • Remember, 100 pounds per day = 11,200 ounces per week
  • So, 11,200 x .26 = 2,912

$2,912 per week is what we would be paying if Dining used our food distributor, which, again, we found in less than five minutes of Googling. That’s nearly half of what Dining is paying for its Nutella per week now–$6,000 less per month, and $43,200 less per year.

There are three possible reasons why Dining seems to be over-paying:

  1. Dining gave Spec inaccurate numbers.
  2. Spec reported the number inaccurately.
  3. Dining is actually over-paying.

Vicki Dunn is an excellent person and there’s no reason she would lie to Spec. As much as we would like to think that Spec misreported the number (kidding, love you guys!), we’ve heard they have some pretty good fact checkers.  While the new statement from Dining announces that costs have gone down as weeks progressed, this reflects a change in demand, not in price.

That leave us with the last, more terrifying option: Dining is getting absolutely fleeced by whoever provides it with condiments like Nutella. Because trust us, it definitely doesn’t stop with Nutella. If you want to look at why Columbia tuition is rising at a steady rate, maybe Dining Services isn’t a bad place to start.

Going (hazel)nuts via Shutterstock


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  • Not convinced says:

    @Not convinced Bailinson told NYT that the number was just an estimate. And the Columbia spokesperson told NYT that 100 lbs was off by a factor of 10. It doesn’t mean Vicki lied or Spec misreported it, just that Vicki gave a casual estimate that Bailinson repeated. And then everyone who saw it on his facebook and all the news orgs took it as gospel even though it wasn’t.

  • SERIOUSLY says:

    @SERIOUSLY I think this entire institution would stop fighting so much if everyone just calmed the fuck down, shut the fuck up, and had more sex. And that’s real talk.

    – Penn State BS/MD Accelerated Program
    – Columbia Accepted, Class of ’15, $0 Financial Aid.
    – Contemplating transfer/slightly regretted not coming at first due to intellectual handicappedness of my current college but now don’t regret it one bit after reading Bwog for an entire year. Why is everyone here act like they got a stick up their ass? Sesriously, some of you are prob good people. JUST NEED TO CHILL OUTZ.

    1. Now would be a good time says:

      @Now would be a good time to stop reading bwog

    2. thepoetultimatechillguy says:

      @thepoetultimatechillguy I think thepoet is a chill guy Columbia guy…eh is friends with everyone and is not PC afraid of anything

    3. The irony is... says:

      @The irony is... …we’re kidding and you seem to be the rudest and least chill of all of us.

  • SERIOUSLY says:

    @SERIOUSLY with that said, this is probably a gigantic PR move by Nutella.

    hey, if thousands of intelligent columbia young 20-somethings are hoarding it like the nile river before a drought, then I WOULD LOVE IT TOO!!

    how many of you know someone who actually hoards that much nutella? and no postings by nutella please.

    1. Definitely NOT Nutella® says:

      @Definitely NOT Nutella® Everyone in my residence hall eats TONS of Nutella: The Original Hazelnut Spread®! And who can blame them? Its unique taste makes it the perfect breakfast, lunch, or anytime snack!

      1. Student says:

        @Student It’s perfect on whole wheat toast and even whole wheat waffles! I love that fact I’m able to tackle the day because of simple, quality ingredients like hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa.

    2. Confused English major says:

      @Confused English major People…hoard…rivers?? What? Is that a real expression?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous sometimes I feel like bwog is the only competent group of people on campus

    1. anon says:

      @anon calling bwog competent is like saying spec does not suck. Both are colossal lies.

  • ummmm says:


  • She probably says:

    @She probably Just fudged the numbers

  • Bill "Swag Beast" Clinton says:

    @Bill "Swag Beast" Clinton It’s arithmetic!!

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous bwog is on it. (eye roll)

  • I once broke up with a girl over Nutella says:

    @I once broke up with a girl over Nutella Walked into her dorm room and she had a jar between her legs and chocolate smeared on her face. Just couldn’t get that image out of my head

  • Transfer-Conflicted Columbia Accepted Penn State kid says:

    @Transfer-Conflicted Columbia Accepted Penn State kid ^^ That’s NUT[ella]S

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