article emerged on NBC.com and was also featured on The Today Show this morning, stating that Columbia University Students love their Nutella so much they are consuming up to 100 pounds a day in the dining hall, racking up a bill as high as $5,000 a week! That is a lot of chocolate hazelnut deliciousness!
I had a meal plan in college - and they don't run cheap! Having to partake in the usual cafeteria food fare can be a real crap shoot. I looked for recognizable brands so I knew what I was getting into. I can see how having gourmet comforts, especially premium items like Nutella, not covered by many college students' budgets might cause some chaos. I'm sure if Nutella was served at my college dining hall that we would be hoarding it and taking jars of it back to our dorm rooms. That is exactly what is happening at Columbia University. Students are filling cups full of Nutella and stealing jars of the stuff. At $5,000 a week, 52 weeks in a year, that could add $250,000 plus into the food budget of the dining hall! When students are paying $15,000 to $40,000 a year for tuition, and more for a dining plan, they might feel entitled to take as much as they want.
Maybe Columbia University should keep the coveted product locked up, having the dining hall ration it to the students. This is how my chefs used to dispense the Saffron (the world's most expensive spice), truffle oil, truffles, Fleur de Sel or aged balsamic vinegar we used in our dishes. We had to ask for it and it was kept under lock and key. An inconvenience for sure, but we learned the value of the products and didn't waste them! The University could employ someone specifically to oversee the Nutella station. It would give someone who needs a job easy employment and the cost would be way cheaper than a quarter of a million dollars a year!
Nutella isn't as high a cost as the gourmet items on my list above, so maybe it doesn't merit being locked up, but it is expensive. cakelava has had Banana Nutella cake on our menu almost since the beginning and long before the chocolate spread became trendy here. It was a flavor Rick and I came up with together after I was inspired by the Banana Nutella crepes while in Paris. We have purchased a large amount of Nutella and understand why the Columbia University students are hoarding it. The fascinating part of the Columbia University story is even though the cost for keeping the coveted Nutella in stock is so high, the dining hall is planning to keep offering it, and may limit other in-demand foods like ... lobster tails. Lobster tails or Nutella? This is a no brainer! Bring on the Nutella!