The newest college craze is Nutella, according to a report that says Columbia University students collectively eat up to 100 pounds of the chocolate hazelnut spread daily, which amounts to more than five times the cost of attending the university.
According to the student newspaper, The Columbia Spectator, the dining hall at Columbia spends up to $5,000 a week on Nutella for the students who consume it in such large quantities. The trend at the cafeteria has sparked concern from the administration, which suspects the treat is in such high demand because undergraduates are hoarding it in their dorms. The New York Times even alleged that students “might eat a whole jar in a single sitting when the pressure is on.”
“The demand has been greater than originally expected,” the head of dining services, Vicki Dunn, told the newspaper. “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.”
The newspaper estimated that the dining hall could spend up to $250,000 per year on Nutella, which amounts to nearly six undergraduate tuitions.
Columbia College Student Council representative Grayson Warrick said the students are actually just wasting the hazelnut spread – and costing Columbia money.
“When you’re paying that much for a dining plan, some people feel a bit more entitled to taking things from the dining hall,” Warrick said. “But what they don’t realize is that dining uses any extra money to get awesome new items like Nutella, almond butter, and to make structural changes like the JJ’s [John Jay] renovation.”
Dunn said the university has no plans to stop serving the spread to students, but will limit other food items in high demand, like lobster tails.
A Columbia spokeswoman declined to comment on the Nutella hoarding at the school, according to The New York Times. However, she said The Columbia Daily Spectator’s allegation that the school serves 100 pounds a day was “speculative and inaccurate.” She added that the cost to the school reported was “roughly 10 times greater than the actual figures.”