French Government Launches Investigation Into Nutella Riots

Last week, the Intermarche supermarket line in France lowered prices on Nutella by 70 precent, resulting in violent feeding-frenzy riots quickly picked up by news outlets all over the world. The French news site The Local called the resulting images "the like of which are more common in America on days like Black Friday when products are sold at huge discounts"—low blow, there. Sociologist Gérard Mermet told Le Parisien that the display even showed that "solidarity no longer had a place in France. I do not think we could have seen these scenes in Germany, where common sense exists more."

To help prevent future such outbreaks, "the body which investigates fraud at France's ministry of finance, announced on Monday it will open an investigation into the promotion" that led to the feeding frenzy. Often such a huge discount indicates a form of "product dumping" (which seems more appropriate for a case of bruised apples than the popular Nutella product). Stephane Travert, France's Minister of Agriculture And Food, is proposing limiting discounts to 34 percent of the purchase price paid by the stores. "He also announced he wants to see the end of supermarket offers such as 'buy one—get one free' with the aim of 'giving value back to products.'" Although the fact that people were willing to get violent to grab the cut-rate Nutella seems to indicate that these consumers valued this product quite highly.