Nutella Factory Strike Stalls Production, Could Lead to Worldwide Shortage

It's no secret that Nutella fans don't take kindly to the idea of anything or anyone getting between them and their precious jars of chocolate hazelnut spread...


It's no secret that Nutella fans don't take kindly to anything or anyone getting between them and their precious jars of chocolate hazelnut spread. You may recall the frenzied Nutella fiends who got violent inside supermarkets across France last year during a massive sale on the stuff. So, you can imagine the sort of chaos that might erupt should there ever be a global shortage. There may be no need to imagine for long, though, since an ongoing worker strike at a big Nutella factory has thrown a serious wrench in production.

A showdown over salary negotiations and working conditions at the world's largest Nutella factory in France has nearly halted production there for the better part of a week, after almost half of its workers went on strike. Activists representing the workers' union have also been blocking trucks from leaving or entering the facility. The plant produces a whopping 600,000 jars of the wildly popular chocolate hazelnut spread every day.

The dispute between factory workers and Ferrero -- Nutella's parent company -- came to a head on May 27, when 160 employees walked off the job at the plant in Normandy, France in a push for higher wages and better working conditions, according to a report in The Guardian. The work stoppage has shut down all but one of the production lines, and not a single truck has left of entered the site since then. It's not entirely clear how this may affect the global supply of the sweet spread, though considering the factory produces 25% of all Nutella in the world and that the next negotiation meeting between the two parties isn't scheduled until June 13, it's reasonable to believe it may cause a hiccup. 

Still, Ferrero maintains there's no reason to freak out...yet. A spokesperson for the company told CNN that there is a reserve stock at the factory, and that there are "no current issues" regarding the supply. 

A resolution doesn't seem to be coming anytime soon, as tensions have only increased since the strike began. In response to the blockade, Ferrero told workers this week that it is illegal and that they risk fines of up to 1,000 Euro per hour, per person for continuing to block access to the facility. 

Not to overreact and cause a run on the stuff, but maybe pick up an extra Nutella jar or two next time you're at the grocery store? Either way, you'll either end up with a hot commodity, or enough laying around once the strike ends to throw one heck of a crepe party. 

h/tCNN, The Guardian

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.