Surprisingly there’s nothing France loves more than Nutella – at least according to a 2020 review of the most-sold groceries in French shops (apart from wine). It was not only the most sold product – the brand dominated half of the top 10 rankings. Claiming the top spot, the Nutella 1kg (2lb) pot generated €40 million worth of sales in 2020. The 1kg chocolate pot was so popular that it outranked butter, black coffee and toilet paper.
Fifth was the 975g pot of Nutella, with turnover of €31 million, followed closely by Nutella 750g (€30 million and Nutella 400g (also €30 million). Then in 10th spot Nutella biscuits, the only non-pot version of the brand on the list. The study presumably didn’t even take account of sales of supermarket own-brands or organic versions of the ubiquitous chocolate spread.
Allegedly, the French eat 26% of the world consumption of Nutella equivalent to about 75,000 tons per annum!
Quelle surprise! Nutella is not even a French product. This brand of sweetened hazelnut cocoa spread is manufactured by the Italian company Ferrero – yes, they of the sickly Ferrero Rocher choclates – and was first introduced in 1964. It’s so popular in France that it has its own manaufacturing capability in Villers-Écalles.
France’s longstanding love affair with the chocolate spread Nutella is a faithful kind that begins, for many, at childhood and lasts for life. French children smear the hazelnut paste onto their bread in the morning, some dip the tartine in a bowl of chocolate milk. Adults might lay off the topping during the week, but few can resist that occasional tartine de nutella. And let’s not forget the absolute classic: crèpes de Nutella. French people eat it by the spoonful to connect with their inner child.
You might remember that back in 2018, a 70% discount on Nutella at the Intermarché supermarket chain turned into a ‘riot’, with customers jostling and battling each other to get their hands on the pots.
And even though in reality it was more like a feeding frenzy than a riot, France’s passion is in no doubt.
Would there have been the same reaction to jars of pickles, such as cornichons? Certainly not! Nutella is pure pleasure for children and to offer it at a bargain price obviously attracts lots of customers. Still, although it may seem bizarre to many, it’s nice to know the French can still surprise us from time to time.
Let’s leave the final word on the subject to French President Emmanuel Macron: