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French Supermarket Chain Under Fire for Deep Discounts That Led to Nutella Riots

French Supermarket Chain Under Fire for Deep Discounts That Led to Nutella Riots

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The country’s finance minister got involved after customers literally fought over the cheap sweet treat

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France’s Minister of Economy and Finance met with the head of the supermarket chain Intermarché on January 30 to criticize the deep discounts that led to in-store riots over cheap jars of Nutella.

Violent riots broke out at several Intermarché locations in France last week after the price for Nutella was reduced by 70 percent. Video footage taken at one store showed a chaotic mess of customers frantically grabbing as much product as possible. One store employee even said that shoppers shoving each other and breaking things resembled an “orgy.”

Though Nutella manufacturer Ferrero Rocher has already issued a statement insisting they were not involved with the promotion, the Ministry of Economic Affairs is investigating Intermarché for inappropriate practices relating to the riot-inducing price dump. Bruno Le Maire, head of the agency, told RTL that he met with Intermarché executives and extracted a promise that the practice would stop after a similar promotion involving packages of Pampers also caused a tumult.

The ministry’s anti-fraud directorate, DGCCRF, said it wanted to “closely examine the rebate campaign,” according to Germany’s Spiegel magazine.

Moving forward, the French government may move to prevent such drastic discounts. One proposed regulation requires retailers to sell their products at least 10 percent above the purchase price.

At least now much of France already has enough Nutella to last through World Nutella Day. The unofficial holiday has been celebrated on February 5 every year since 2007, but was almost cancelled in 2013 after company founder Michele Ferrero sent a cease-and-desist letter. But he backed down and the annual tradition lived on. Find all this and more in the 10 things you didn’t know about Nutella.

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