Grocery giant Woolworths began stacking its shelves with hot cross buns just days after Christmas – almost 100 days before Easter – with Coles quickly following suit in early January.
The move has long angered the baking industry, which relies on consumer anticipation to boost sales throughout the Easter period.
Family-owned and operated bakery business Ferguson Plarre has even started the #NotCrossBun campaign, encouraging customers to hold out until a few weeks before Easter to fill up on the spiced fruit-filled buns.
“We sent letters to the general managers of Coles and Woolies, asking them to give families a break in the aftermath of Christmas,” Ferguson Plarre CEO Steve Plarre said.
“Ferguson Plarre is a family business and many of us have young kids of our own. We know the excitement that is brought on by the start of Easter and it’s ridiculous we should have to be marketing Santa and the Easter Bunny at the same time. ”
Steve said the community agrees, with Ferguson Plarre’s four-to-six week selling period recommended through customer feedback.
“Seasonal products – and the excitement brought on by them hitting the shelves – is the backbone of the baking industry. Without a small window to sell a product, it loses what makes it special in the first place,” he said.
Woolworths expects to sell more than 50 million hot cross buns in the lead-up to the Easter holidays, with gourmet and celebrity-endorsed versions hoping to boost sales. When asked to comment on the trend, a Coles spokesperson simply said those customers who want to hold off until Easter have the choice to do so.