The 52-year-old man has been arrested and charged with theft and affray after an incident in Bulwell.
Officers were called at around 9.30am to Heron Foods in Main Street, Bulwell yesterday following a report that a man was stealing a can of tuna from the shop.
When challenged by a member of staff, the suspect allegedly produced a knife and threatened them with it.
John Batty of Hoefield Crescent in Nottingham has been charged and remanded. He is due to appear at Nottingham Crown Court on July 10.Temporary inspector Franco Guddemi is leading the investigation. He said: "These incidents are always prioritised in this way and we do everything we can to track down a possible suspect at the earliest opportunity.
"This must have been a frightening experience for the staff. No key worker should be threatened for just doing their job."