Nutella sale sparks 'riots' as French go nuts for chocolate spread

26 January 2018, 09:17

A supermarket promotion on Nutella has caused "riots" across France as chocolate lovers grabbed jars in scenes likened to an "orgy".

The popular chocolate-hazelnut spread is on sale for 70% less than its original price at Intermarche stores across France.

Promotional posters have appeared all over France revealing that 950g jars would be €1.41 (86p) instead of €4.50 (£3.90) from Thursday to Sunday.

Queues of chocolate lovers appeared outside supermarkets on Thursday morning and made a beeline for the sweet treat once doors opened.

Staff at Intermarches across the country reported that people were pushing others out of the way and breaking other products to get to the prized Nutella.

"People rushed in, they shoved past everything, they broke stuff," one employee in a store in Forbach, a town near the German border, told Le Monde.

"It was an orgy! We were on the verge of calling the police."

Video online showed people stuffing large bags with the jars as they knocked over stands of other products.

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In some stores police were called as shoppers fought over the Nutella.

"They are like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box to her head, another had a bloody hand. It was horrible," a customer told French media.

Some staff branded the promotion a "catastrophe".

"Some customers came the night before the promotion to stash the Nutella pots in other places, so to prevent others from taking them," Jean-Marie Daragon, store manager of the Intermarche in Montbrison, Loire, told local newspaper Le Progres.

At a store in L'Horme, in the Loire Valley, all the jars were gone in 15 minutes.

"We were trying to get in between the customers, but they were pushing us," one employee told Le Progres, adding that a customer left with a black eye.

In Saint Cyprien, a staff member carrying the jars on a pallet was accosted by customers throwing themselves at him.

About 365m kilos of Nutella is eaten every year in 160 countries.

The Ferrero family, famous for their Ferrero Rocher chocolates, created the spread in the 1940s in Italy's Piedmont region, which is famous for its hazelnuts.

The company said the decision to slash the price was taken "unilaterally" by Intermarche, and called the chaotic scenes regrettable.