Reports are flooding in that Nutella is responsible for the spread of chaos among French shoppers. The condiment has been driving consumers nuts after continental supermarket chain Intermarche offered an enormous 70 percent discount on the product across its entire range. Clearly, chocoholism is a greater problem than we ever suspected.
The result of a January promotion, jars were reduced from €4.50 to €1.41 ($5.90 to $1.75). Shoppers descended on stores across the country, and quickly turned on each other in scenes reminiscent of the more hysterical "Black Friday" reactions.
Fortunately for the rest of us, several baffled onlookers had the good sense to record the carnage, giving us all an opportunity to share in the incredulity. In the footage, shoppers can be seen swarming round shelves selling the spread, eventually resorting to violence to secure pots for themselves.
Several bystanders offer confused commentaries on the scenes unfolding before them. "This is not normal!" offers one critique. "Seriously? All this for Nutella?" quips another slightly perplexed party.
After a while, however, amusement turned to alarm in some places, where shoppers turned suddenly violent. One customer reported to the French media that the rioters were "like animals". "A woman had her hair pulled, an elderly lady took a box on her head, another had a bloody hand," he said. Nutella may be delicious, but this seems a little excessive.
In a bid to control the chaos, some supermarkets introduced a limit of three pots per person. However, this did little to stem the tide of crazed French shoppers. One member of staff reported that: "We were trying to get in between the customers but they were pushing us." One woman was left with a black eye.
Eventually, police were called to some stores, putting a stop to the ruckus. After the dust settled, it was revealed that one shop had sold out in 15 minutes.
Since its introduction in the 1940s, Nutella has become a staple in store-cupboards across the world. Manufacturers Ferrero proudly proclaim to produce a weight of Nutella equal to the Empire State Building every year. Today, the spread is sold in over 160 countries worldwide.
In some ways, the fanatical reaction to a Nutella discount should not have been as surprising as it was. France is infatuated with the spread - consuming over 100 million jars of the stuff every year. This puts it second on the list of world leaders behind Germany. So popular is it that one couple were prevented by law from naming their child "Nutella" in 2015. After this madness, perhaps rioting is the next logical step.
The Ferrero Company stated that they "deplored" the violence seen across stores, but also distanced themselves from the scenes. Issuing a statement after the mayhem had unfolded, the company said: "We wish to clarify that this promotion was decided unilaterally by the Intermarché brand,” laying blame for the fiasco solely at the supermarket's door.
Despite the debacle of the initial Nutella discount, Intermarche have continued the offer into Friday. Presumably cashiers and customers alike are readying themselves for an even more violent round two. Watch this space for anymore updates from chocolate Armageddon.