A Nutella price drop sent French shoppers into a frenzy and sparked brawling and stampedes in supermarket aisles across the country.
French media reported there were “riots in several stores across France” on Thursday after supermarket chain Intermarche reduced the price on a 950g pot of the Ferrero chocolate spread by 70 per cent.
The price reduction from €4.50 to €1.41 led to pandemonium with police called to restore order at a store in Marles-les-Mines, in northern France, as customers jostled waiting for it to open.
“They were going for each other like animals,” said one employee at a store in Rive-de-Gier, in central France.
“One woman had her hair pulled, another’s hand was bleeding and an elderly woman was hit over the head with a box. It was horrible.”
Serieux ??!! Tout ça pour du Nutella ?! 😮 #Emeute #Nutella pic.twitter.com/UoNTmK78eE
— •KENNY LE BON• (@kennyLebon) January 25, 2018
One customer at a store in L’Homre, near the eastern central city of Saint-Étienne, was left with a black eye from the pushing and shoving,
“We were trying to get in between the customers but they were pushing us,” said one employee, who added the store had sold out of Nutella in just 15 minutes.
At another store frenzied shoppers were filmed jostling for Nutella and scooping jars into plastic bags. The demand was so huge in one store that three months worth of Nutella stock was sold within a few hours.
“People just rushed in, shoving everyone, breaking things,” an employee in the northeastern town of Forbarch told AFP. “It was like an orgy. We were on the verge of calling the police.”
There were long queues outside some stores before the sale began. Jean-Marie Daragon, a store manager in Montbrison, Loire, said some bargain hunters even arrived a day early.
“Some customers came the night before the promotion to stash the Nutella pots in other places, so to prevent other from taking them,” she said.
Hystérie et bousculades pour obtenir un pot de Nutella à Toulon https://t.co/eWEjDjneqE pic.twitter.com/fteBD2q4dG
— Var-matin (@Var_Matin) January 26, 2018
Myriam Maerton, who witnessed similar mass hysteria in the northern French city of Roubaix, said it left her feeling “wiped out and in despair”.
“As soon as the doors opened, there was a big stampede, a fight and people trampled under foot,” she wrote on Facebook.
“Today I have definitely stopped believing in human beings and their supposed intelligence.”
It was dubbed the “Nutella riots” on social media, with one posting: "Seriously??!! All this just for Nutella".
“Was gonna get some Sunday. But I don’t wanna die,” wrote Ruthii Trudie.
“It is clear, they are so stupid,” posted another. “I wouldn’t fight, especially [not] for Nutella.”
Five fascinating facts about Nutella
Intermarche has apologised to customers and said it had been "surprised" by the sheer demand, AFP reports.
Ferrero, the Italian company that produces Nutella, said it “deplores this operation and its consequences that create confusion and disappointment in the minds of customers”.
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Last year, Nutella fans complained over changes to recipe of the beloved chocolate spread.