Videos of French shoppers jostling as they tried to grab heavily discounted tubs of the chocolate spread in Intermarche stores have gone viral over the past week.
“I met with the director of Intermarche yesterday,” Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said, as his government prepared to unveil a bill later Wednesday that will tighten rules on supermarket promotions.
“I told him that this must be stopped — we can’t have scenes like this every few days in France,” Le Maire told RTL radio.
Intermarche sparked the shopping frenzy last Thursday when it slashed the price of a 950-gram (2-pound) pot of Nutella — a favoured breakfast spread in France — from 4.50 euros ($5.60) to 1.41 euros.
The three-day promotion prompted shoving and even full-blown fights in several stores, with one worker likening the scenes to “an orgy”.
Intermarche apologised to customers, but it has since continued with aggressive discounts on coffee and nappies.
The DGCCRF consumer agency on Monday announced it was launching an investigation into the discounts.
Le Maire urged Intermarche to “stop this kind of promotion”, saying that the pushing and shoving seen as customers clamoured to get their hands on the Nutella tubs must not become “normalised”.
He reminded Intermarche’s management that like other supermarket chains, it had already “signed a deal to no longer carry out these kind of promotions. They must keep their word.”