Friday, October 19, 2012

Nutella vs Bolocos

Nutella is an Italian company that makes a hazelnut spread also called Nutella.  The spread is a blend of skim milk, hazelnuts, sugar and cocoa and has the consistency of peanut butter.  Some people love it. They eat it with a spoon, spread on crackers or bread or as a dip for graham crackers.
I first had nutella in 2000 when we went to Italy and our hotel served it with breakfast pastries. I thought it was a chocolate spread, but after I tasted it I thought it was much lighter than chocolate. Since I love hazelnuts, I loved the flavor, even though I couldn't detect the hazelnuts.
Boloco's is a Boston based burrito franchise that specializes in making burritos (not just Mexican burritos) or sandwiches wrapped in a tortilla.  They also make smoothies mixed with yogurt. One of their most popular smoothies is their Nutella Smoothie which is made with Nutella, skim milk and non-fat frozen yogurt blended together.
A week ago, Nutella sent Boloco's a cease and desist order telling them to stop using the Nutella name on the menus.  They can continue to use their product, but do not endorse it to be used as a frozen ingredient.
John Pepper, the founder of Boloco's has had the Nutella smoothie on the menu for 14 years.  He loved it as a child. Nutella will only give permission to use their name if the product remains the same consistency as it does when it arrives from the factory.
John Pepper agreed to remove "Nutella" from his printed material, even though it is going to cost him tens of thousands of dollars to make reprints and change signage in its 22 locations.  He wants to keep the smoothie, but will seek out alternative sources, hopefully from a local vendor who makes a similar product.
It surprises me that in today's economy Nutella will put unreasonable demands on someone who is successfully using their product.  Boloco's selling Nutella Smoothies sounds like a win-win situation for both Nutella and Boloco's.

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