Supermarkets have been accused of pursuing an ‘anti- Christian agenda’ after refusing to sell Easter eggs with a religious message. (article in the Daily Mail)
Some of Britain’s biggest stores are celebrating the most profound event in the Church calendar by offering treats featuring everything from Darth Vader to Postman Pat – but turned down products that mention Jesus.
One chain even asked ‘what has Easter got to do with the Church?’, according to the makers of The Real Easter Egg, which features Christian crosses on the box and contain a leaflet telling the story of the Resurrection.
Now Archbishop of York John Sentamu has stepped in – urging Sainsbury’s, Asda and the Co-op to stock the charity eggs – while former Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said he was ‘saddened’ by the three supermarket giants’ decision.
Lord Carey said: ‘The rest are rubbish. These Easter eggs that have nothing to do with Easter, all they are trying to do is get more money out of people. They have no meaning. I think it shows ignorance on the part of these supermarkets.
‘By not offering an alternative to secular Easter eggs they are really undermining the real message of Easter. It saddens me because we are living in a land that is completely losing contact with its religious roots and is out of touch with the Christian message.’
David Marshall, the head of the Meaningful Chocolate Company, said the supermarkets appeared biased against its ‘proven seller’. He said: ‘We do wonder at times if there is an anti-Christian agenda from some of our supermarkets who just keep turning it down. It is as if some feel Christianity is politically incorrect or the Easter story, which mentions Jesus, might put people off.
‘One buyer asked us what Easter had got to do with the Church, while another simply said, “I don’t think this is a credible product” and asked us to leave.’
The Warrington-based firm has spent five years trying to persuade stores to sell its £4 Christian-themed eggs, which were launched in 2010 with the backing of Archbishop Sentamu.
At first the supermarkets refused, but two years ago, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and the Co-Op bowed to pressure and agreed.
But this year Sainsbury’s and the Co-op have dropped the eggs, blaming poor sales, while Asda has never stocked them. However, the Meaningful Chocolate Company say a million eggs have been sold over the past five years.
‘Poor sales’: Sainsbury’s and Co-op have cited poor sales as the reason they dropped the Eggs, while Asda said it has not be approached by the makers of the egg
Archbishop Sentamu, who has lamented ignorance about Easter after learning that a third of children thought it marked the birthday of the Easter bunny, said yesterday: ‘With a million Real Easter Eggs sold I am delighted that Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose have met the challenge. I call on Sainsbury’s, Asda, and the Co-operative to give their customers the same choice.’
Sainsbury’s said their decision was based on ‘the popularity of ranges in previous years’, with the Co-op also citing ‘poor sales of the Real Easter Egg in previous years’. Asda said it had not been approached this year, a claim disputed by the Meaningful Chocolate Company.