Nutella Chaos In France

People in France love Nutella, a sweet chocolate-hazelnut spread.

So when a large chain of grocery stores offered the spread last week for 70 per cent off its regular price, customers clamoured to get it. They pushed and shoved their way through crowds to buy as much of it as they could, according to news reports by many organization such as CBC News, The Guardian, Forbes, Le Parisien and The New York Times.

A 950-gram jar of the spread normally sells in France for 4,70 €. For three days, from Thursday, Jan. 25 until Saturday, Jan. 27, the grocery chain Intermarché offered Nutella for 70 per cent off, or about 1,41 €.*

In France, Nutella is used on bread (much like peanut butter is used in North America), but because it is sweet and chocolaty, it is also used in desserts and many other dishes. Many French children eat it on baguettes (long, crusty bread) for breakfast.

Nutella is an Italian product, manufactured by Ferrero, and it is beloved there and throughout Europe. However, it is even more popular in France, where more than 100 million pots of the spread are reportedly consumed every year. (Germany is the only country which consumes more Nutella than France.)

Many people have posted videos and photos of the Nutella riots, where people have been injured or trampled as others tried to grab and buy as much of the discounted treat as possible. In some places, police had to be called in to prevent people from fighting over it.

In some stores, the sale went off with much less difficulty and no riots. Some customers went into stores the night before, and stashed pots of Nutella where other people couldn’t find it, so they’d be ready for the sale. Other stores limited people’s purchases to three pots of Nutella per person.

On Twitter, @mika11ooo posted a photo of the ad showing the discounted price, bemoaning the fact that within five minutes many of the stores were sold out of Nutella.

The Twitter feed for Nutella, the brand, doesn’t mention the riots in France. They did, however, post an image telling people that “World Nutella Day” is Feb. 5.

*€ stands for Euro, the money used in France. One Euro is about $1.53 Canadian dollars, $1.24 US dollars or .88 British pounds.

Related links:
The website for Ferrero, which manufactures Nutella. They say they had nothing to do with the sale, which was put on by the supermarket chain Intermarché.

Twitter feed for @NutellaGlobal.

Article in the New York Times about the Nutella “riots.”

Article on CBC News about the Nutella “riots.”

TKN has published two other Nutella stories in the past. Read them at:

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Grocery items go on sale around the world every day and nobody reports on it. Nutella went on sale and caused a commotion, and it became an international story. According to the article, “many organization such as CBC News, The Guardian, Forbes, Le Parisien and The New York Times” covered this story. Why do you think people are/were so fascinated by this story?

Reading Prompt: Point of View
When you read this article, what was your reaction? Did you think the “riots” were absurd, embarrassing, justified, understandable etc.?

Write down a few notes capturing your point of view. Then pick another point of view (e.g. someone in the “riot”, the Nutella company, someone working at a store where the “riots” happened…) and write down a few notes about their point of view. How are they the same and how do they differ?

Identify the point of view presented in texts, ask questions to identify missing or possible alternative points of view, and suggest some possible alternative perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Identify the point of view presented in texts, including increasingly complex or difficult texts; give evidence of any biases they may contain; and suggest other possible perspectives (OME, Reading: 1.9).

Language Feature: Adjective
Adjectives (describing words) are used to paint a picture in a reader’s mind. For example, Nutella is described as “sweet and chocolaty”. Those adjectives help you to understand what Nutella may taste like if you’ve never had it before.

Think of your favourite treat and write down 5 adjectives that describe it. Then give those 5 adjectives to a friend or classmate and have them guess which treat you are describing.