French figures: The chocolate spread that caused a riot

French figures: The chocolate spread that caused a riot
Photo: AFP
France is renowned worldwide for its fine cheeses, wine and patisseries. But there is one thing the country goes absolutely mad over, and it's not really French at all.

France is Nutella-obsessed.

They butter thick layers of the sweet, nutty chocolate spread on their tartines (slices of bread), crêpes (French pancakes) and gaufres (waffles).

No food product can outcompete Nutella in France, according to a 2020 review of what groceries French shops sold most (apart from wine).

Not only did Nutella claim the top sport, it featured on five of the 10 most-sold items. Its different pot-sizes (1kg, 975g, 750g and 400g) all outcompeting milk as most popular grocery.

REVEALED: This is how popular Nutella is in France

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But Nutella isn't really French. It originated in Italy, first produced by the company Ferrero back in the 1960s.

Today the company has production sites in France, and the world's largest Nutella factory is in situated near Rouen, in the northwestern region Normandy.

*tell the universe what you want*

Me: Nutella and Biscoff Crepes by @ptheledge ?? #missguided

— Missguided (@Missguided) January 23, 2020


It seems that the obsession is at least partly linked to nostalgia – a popular post-school snack (goûter) for French children is bread and Nutella. Therefore when adults feel the need for a bit of comfort food, they reach for something that is both sweet and transports them back to childhood.

And we weren't exaggerating when we said they go mad for it – a couple of years back, a 70 percent Nutella discount at the Intermarché supermarket chain turned into a 'riot', with customers jostling and battling each other to get their hands on the pots.

READ ALSO: What the 'great Nutella riots' tell us about the French

This article is part of The Local France's 2020 virtual advent calendar – every day until Christmas we will be presenting you with a person or object that has a particular significance to life in France.


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  1. If you google, Ferrero (company who own Nutella) and child slavery. Then read all the articles about how they were not only take to court for child slavery but charged too. You will never buy Nutella again. Not many people know what an unethical company they are. I really dislike seeing articles talking about how great it is. It’s just chocolate spread! The kids are children we should be protecting.

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