The French government is taking steps to prevent shoppers from stampeding stores during promotional sales. Store brawls on January 25 over jars of the cocoa-hazelnut spread Nutella at Intermarché stores in France moved the government to pull the reins on dramatic price slashing. The country’s Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, stated that the government revealed a bill with rules on store promotions, according to Public Radio International (PRI).

Last week, the supermarket chain Intermarché promoted a massive price reduction on 33.51-ounce jars of Nutella, slashing the price from $5.85 to $1.75.

Customers besieged store locations en masse, clamoring to get their hands on the much-beloved table staple. Fistfights broke out over the limited amount of stock available at participating store locations. The sale intended to run three days only lasted one day – the effect of customers arriving in droves and clearing store shelves within 30 minutes.

French Finance Minister meets with Intermarché’s director

Le Maire and Intermarché’s director met on Tuesday (Jan. 30). The government official reportedly emphasized that such incidents cannot recur, according to Bloomberg. In France, it is illegal to sell at a loss if not done within “certain sales periods.”

The Finance Minister also reminded the head of the supermarket chain that the store needed to uphold its “word,” penned in a signed agreement respective of promotions, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported online.

During the meeting, Le Maire also stressed to Intermarché that the type of customer frenzy over Nutella depicted in myriad social media videos “must not” become the norm.

The government’s proposed new rule has a two-fold goal: ensure that farmers receive fair prices, as well as “preserve” France’s ability to produce, Stephane Travert, the Agriculture Minister stated, Bloomberg noted.

Regret following store brawls but ‘aggressive’ product promotions persist

Though Intermarché expressed regret and issued an apology following the store fracases after the Nutella sale, DW reported that the chain stores persist with coffee and diapers sold at discount. BusinessLive deemed product price-cutting the as “aggressive.”

The bill intended to control sale prices is slated to go to the French Parliament at the end of February or the beginning of March, according to Travert and Bloomberg.

If approved, it will restrict sellers from reducing food prices more than 34 percent. And if the bill had already been enacted, the 70 percent knockdown on Nutella at Intermarché would have been illegal, DW also noted.

New bill bans buy one, get one free

The bill is essentially a ban on sales akin to a buy one and get one free offer, Reuters reported. At the same time, though, stores will not be prohibited from promotions such as buy two and get one free, according to Travert. Simultaneous to seeking to circumvent customer-based store skirmishes, the bill could also benefit farmers who are struggling financially in France by guaranteeing a better income, giving them a greater percentage of profits, the Telegraph (UK) explained.

Farmers, according to Reuters, have expressed that consumers benefit when retailers engage in price wars. In the midst of customer-based bargains, though, farmers complain that they are hurt financially.