International Nutella crisis imminent as French workers go on strike

The factory usually churns out 600,000 jars of nutella a day
The factory usually churns out 600,000 jars of nutella a day (Picture: AFP/ Getty Images)

A factory in France which makes a quarter of the world’s supply of Nutella has been brought to a standstill by workers’ strikes.

The Villers-Ecalles plant, run by confectionery giant Ferrero, normally sends out 600,000 jars per day of the hazelnut and chocolate spread.

But strikes over workers’ pay has meant ingredients are running low, with no deliveries entering the plant for a week.

The strikers are calling for a 4.5 per cent pay rise, as well as a 900 euro (£800) bonus, but so far they have only been offered a 0.4 per cent increase.

Fabrice Canchel of the Force Ouvriere (FO) union, said 160 workers have been on strike since March 27.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 05, 2019 A pot of the chocolate spread Nutella is pictured in Manta, near Cuneo, Northwestern Italy on Febraury 5, 2019. - A plant in northern France that makes a quarter of the world's Nutella has been blockaded for a week by workers striking for more pay, unions said June 3, 2019, in troubling news for consumers of the cocoa and hazelnut spread. The stoppage has hit the Villers-Ecalles factory of privately-owned Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, which normally churns out 600,000 jars per day, making it the biggest Nutella producer in the world. (Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO / AFP)MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP/Getty Images
Ingredients are running low (Picture: AFP)

He added that ‘no lorry has gone in or out of the site’ since that date, causing supplies of raw materials to significantly dwindle and only one Nutella production line to work at 20 per cent capacity.

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Production of Kinder Bueno, another Ferrero product, had also ceased for almost a week, he continued.

Ferrero, which also creates Ferrero Rocher and Kinder Surprise, said the strikers were a minority among the 400 workers in the factory.

In a statement, the company said their priority was to protect staff not participating in the demonstration.

They also accused the FO of rejecting their attempts at negotiation.

(FILES) A file photo taken on November 27, 2018 shows the Ferrero plant in Villers-Ecalles, northwestern France. - A plant in northern France that makes a quarter of the world's Nutella has been blockaded for a week by workers striking for more pay, unions said June 3, 2019, in troubling news for consumers of the cocoa and hazelnut spread. The stoppage has hit the Villers-Ecalles factory of privately-owned Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, which normally churns out 600,000 jars per day, making it the biggest Nutella producer in the world. (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU / AFP)CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP/Getty Images
No lorries have arrived at the factory for a week (Picture: AFP/ Getty Images)

Nutella production has faced challenges in recent years, in part due to its use of palm oil.

The ingredient’s harvest contributes to deforestation and climate change

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But Ferrero have overall seen their sales double over the last decade through a series of ambitious acquisitions.

The company, founded as a family business in 1946, is now the third-largest company in the global chocolate confectionery market.

In April, it announced the purchase of the the biscuit and snack businesses of the American Kellogg Company for $1.3 billion (around £1.02 billion).

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