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Nutella Is Disappearing From Columbia's Dining Halls At An Alarming Rate

11,000 Pounds of Nutella Stolen (ABC News)

Last month, Columbia University started offering Nutella in Ferris Booth Commons, one of its dining halls.

Since the chocolate-hazelnut topping's debut, it's cost the dining program $5,000 a week to stock the stuff, according to the Columbia Spectator's Cecilia Reyes.

The demand for Nutella is up to 100 pounds per day, said Vicki Dunn, executive director of Dining Services. But that ridiculous amount could be due to the fact that students are stealing the Nutella by filling up to-go cups and taking full jars back to their dorms.

Why are they doing it? Some students have weighed in:

  • A junior interviewed by the Times admitted to making off with a day's worth of Nutella to snack on in sandwiches while studying. The reason: He was stressed before finals.

  • A student council representative gave this reason for the Nutella thefts to The Gothamist: "When you’re paying that much for a dining plan, some people feel a bit more entitled to taking things from the dining hall. 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."

  • A freshman gave a simple explanation to the Columbia Spectator: "People love their Nutella. People are going to go crazy. I'm not surprised."

  • But not all students are happy about those abusing the Nutella privilege. A junior interviewed by New York Daily News said the cafeteria had run out of Nutella during her last visit. A freshman added said he's seen people munching on the nutty spread by the plateful, "way more than they should."

Whether they're stealing or eating it, if it keeps disappearing at this rate, the dining program could spend more than $250,000 annually on Nutella alone.

However, according to an university spokeswoman who spoke with The New York Times, the numbers Dunn gave The Spectator were “speculative and inaccurate” and the estimated cost was “roughly 10 times greater than the actual figures.”

Fortunately for Columbia's Nutella-crazed students, the school isn't planning to pull the pricey item from its dining halls. But, according to The Spectator, it may think twice before serving "other 'luxury' items, like lobster tails," in the future.

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