Students at Columbia University are stealing hazelnut spread Nutella by the hundreds, as the school is forced to pay $5,000 a week to keep up.
It seems Nutella is a hot commodity on campus, as students have begun taking the spread back to their dorm rooms.
Administrators say the thefts have spread to at least two of the school’s dining halls.
“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,” Vicki Dunn told the school newspaper.
The spread was just added to the school’s food line up last month, but they have already spent $20,000 on it since. They estimate that if they keep buying the product at this rate, the school will have spent $250,000 on it in one year.
Both cafeterias serve up to 5,600 students every day, making it difficult to find out who exactly is stealing the product.
It’s also not just Nutella the students are stealing.
“People take silverware, cups and plates, and that adds up over the course of a year to a lot of money,” Peter Bailinson, a freshman in the student government, said. “With Nutella, it added up much more quickly. Where Dining might have to spend $50,000 to replace silverware and cups, they were spending thousands of dollars on Nutella in one week.”
In total, the school is going through Nutella at a rate of 100 pounds a day.
And it’s not a particularly healthy item to steal, as the treat has 200 calories for every two tablespoons.
Ballinson thinks students are stealing it because they think they are entitled to it, as meal plans are quite pricey.
A dining plan at the college costs $2,363 per semester.
“When you’re paying that much for a dining plan, some people feel a bit more entitled to taking things from the dining hall,” he 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 renovation.”