Turmoil broke out at several locations of the Intermarché supermarket chain in France
A sale on the Italian hazelnut cocoa spread Nutella caused riots in multiple French supermarkets; the price of the breakfast food went from $5.60 USD to $1.70USD. Intermarché, a chain of commercial French supermarkets, offered 70% off on the popular hazelnut spread on January 26th.
However, French police were soon called to the supermarkets after reports of aggressive costumers fighting over the sugary spread. Workers were caught in the middle of fights and were uncapable of breaking them up. An Intermarche staff member told the French newspaper Le Progrès, “We were trying to get in between the customers but they were pushing us”.
There were some reports of Nutella-related injuries – hurt hands and hair pulling – and people fighting “like animals”, one customer told French media. It was also reported that one client received a black eye from a violent shopper.
Due to this, stores were forces to limit the sale to one jar of Nutella per person in order to be able to suffice the need of the store’s costumers.
Ferrero, the company that produces Nutella, condemned the incidents and distanced itself from the supermarket chain. "We want to clarify that the decision for the special offer was taken unilaterally by Intermarche”, the company said in a statement. "We regret the consequences of this operation, which created confusion and disappointment in the consumers' minds”.
The discount was meant to last until Saturday, but the stores quickly ran out of the coveted good. Meanwhile, in other stores, sales were normal with little to no incidents reported.
Though the country's passion for Nutella is no secret, the 70 percent discount on the famous chocolate hazelnut spread showed what the French are willing to do to get their hands on the breakfast food.
The French have had a long love affair with the chocolate spread due to it being considered breakfast food for children. Around 100 million jars are devoured each year in said European country alone. The fascination towards this food is exemplified in a court case in 2016; a couple was banned from calling their daughter Nutella. The judges affirmed the child would be ridiculed as she would grow up.
It is not the first time that high demand for Nutella has led to violet encounters. In September 2015, a 78-year-old shopper in California, United States, said he was punched in the face after complaining that another customer took too many Nutella waffle samples.
365 million kilograms of Nutella are consumed every year in 160 countries around the world. According to Nutella's official website, the amount of the spread produced every year weighs as much as the Empire State Building.
Latin American Post | Carlos Eduardo Gómez Avella
Copy edited by Susana Cicchetto