EARLIER this month the media made much of the news that large supermarket chains had buckled under pressure from Christians and were going to stock a religiously themed chocolate egg packaged to peddle the lie that Easter is all about Jesus.
Christians were cock-a-hoop after the Bishop of Hereford, the Rt Revd Anthony Priddis, orchestrated a lobbying campaign targeting companies such as Tesco and Sainsbury’s. They were urged to consider stocking “meaningful” eggs.
Priddis told shoppers to complain to their local supermarket if they could not find the £3.99 egg – which is the only one to mention Jesus on the box.
Earlier, in 2010, the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, used his Easter sermon to voice alarm after research suggested that millions of children had no idea about the meaning of “the main Christian festival” – which isn’t a Christian festival at all, rather one that had been purloined from the pagans.
One poll even found that one in three children thought that it was the “Easter bunny’s birthday”.
Sentamu even used a joint appearance at a public round-table event with one supermarket chief to repeatedly order him to stock the eggs. The Anglican bishops of Oxford, Chelmsford and Aston also joined in, as did the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Southwark, the Most Rev Peter Smith.
Last year churchgoers also plagued Tesco’s customer service phone line, demanding that the eggs be stocked.
When it was announced that pester power had eventually won the day, Priddis said:
The response from Tesco, Morrisons and the Coop has been particularly encouraging. I am sure Sainsbury and Waitrose will also discover real demand for an egg explaining the religious understanding of Easter on the box and which supports charitable projects. I encourage shoppers to hunt out a Real Easter Egg and complain if they are not being stocked.
But yesterday it was reported that the supermarkets – refusing to believe that “Christianity sells” – have placed such “pitifully low orders” that the Meaningful Chocolate Company, which makes the eggs, faces selling to some stores at a loss.
David Marshall, boss of the Meaningful Chocolate Company, ruefully said:
For such low quantities we run the risk of selling at a loss. One supermarket said they were very worried this egg would not be liked by people and would cause problems.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn