Lonely Planet Writer

Nutella riots spark legal investigation in France after scenes of pandemonium

Will the love for Nutella ever cease? Hysterics for the hazelnut and chocolate spread reached new levels in France when the supermarket chain Intermarché decided to sell the popular product with a 70 per cent discount from €4.50 (£3.90) to €1.40, leading to bolshie behaviour, black eyes, bruises and bloodied hands.

France is going nuts for discounted Nutella spread. Image: Moncherie

Scenes of pandemonium have been reported all across the country as bargain hunters took advantage of the promotion. There have been stories of customers pulling each other’s hair, hitting one another with boxes and hiding tubs of Nutella the night before the sale began. Speaking to the French media, one customer said: ‘They are like animals. A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a bloody hand.’

Customers in France are brawling over discounted Nutella spread. Image: Charly Tribelleau/AFP/Getty Images

Following the fracas that gained worldwide headlines, France’s consumer protection and anti-fraud agency are set to investigate if the promotion was legal.  The Minister for Agriculture who is not impressed by the supermarket’s promotion, is said to be keen to limit discount to just above 30%.

Nutella and Banana Crepe, a popular dessert in France. Image by Gerald Martineau/The Washington Post/Getty Images

It is estimated that a jar of Nutella is sold somewhere in the world every 2.5 seconds. It’s not the first time the sweet spread has made headlines. The first-ever Nutella Café opened in Chicago last year and in 2016 McDonald’s in Italy introduced a burger with a sweet Nutella filling called Sweety con Nutella. Australia and Malta have both hosted Nutella-themed festivals as well.