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Nutella 'riots': Sale on chocolate and hazelnut spread sparks chaos in French supermarkets

'Ce n'est pas normal,' observed one stunned bystander 

Chris Baynes
Friday 26 January 2018 10:59
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Nutella discount sparks 'riots' at supermarkets across France

A discount on Nutella has sparked chaos in French supermarkets, with police called to intervene as shoppers fought over pots of the chocolate and hazelnut spread.

The 70 per cent price cut at Intermarché stores led to scenes likened by some to “riots”. The supermarket chain reduced 950g jars of Nutella from €4.50 (£3.90) to €1.41 (£1.23).

The promotion sent customers across the country into a frenzy, with people pushing and fighting at some branches.

Footage posted on social media showed shoppers swarming around shelves of the spread and jostling for jars as staff tried to restore order, in scenes reminiscent of Black Friday sales hysteria.

“Seriously? All this for Nutella,” remarked one stunned bystander. Another commented: “This is not normal.”

One customer suffered a black eye in a violent melee at a store in L’Horme, in the central Loire region, an employee told Le Progres newspaper. The shop’s stock of Nutella was snapped up within 15 minutes.

The manager of another Intermarché in Rive-de-Gier, central France, said 600 pots were sold within five minutes. One customer described shoppers as “like animals”.

“A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a blood hand,” they said. “It was horrible.”

The Local reported that police were called to several stores in the north of the country as customers fought.

At another store in Montbrison, central France, customers hid pots of Nutella the night before the promotion began to stop rival shoppers buying them.

“I solved the problem by limiting the number of pots to three per person. But they went back and forth,” said exasperated manager Jean-Marie Daragon.

Nutella’s Italian manufacturer, Ferrero, said it “deplored” the violence but distanced itself from the supermarket’s sale.

“We wish to clarify that this promotion was decided unilaterally by the Intermarché brand,” it said in a statement.

The French are voracious consumers of Nutella, eating around 100 million jars a year – more than any country other than Germany.

In 2015, a French court stopped a couple from naming their baby daughter after the spread, ruling it would make her the target of ridicule.

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