“Hot Cross Buns, hot cross buns, one a penny, two a penny, hot cross buns…”
As we head toward Easter, supermarkets and bakeries are introducing their seasonal ranges, which includes the famous hot cross bun. Sales of these flavourful treats start well in advance of Easter, and we’ve seen supermarkets diversify their ranges in order to attract more sales. So why is the humble hot cross bun so popular?
The history of the hot cross bun is thought to go back to the Saxons who ate buns to honour Eastre, Goddess of Spring / Light – who gave her name to the celebration of Easter. Christianity adopted it to symbolise the crucifixion of Jesus and enjoyed them on Good Friday, but now they are enjoyed as a seasonal treat over the entire Spring, predominantly in commonwealth countries such as UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, South Africa and India.
Last year we spent a massive £37 million on hot cross buns, but not just the traditional, run of the mill buns! Supermarkets and bakers have adopted a strategy of experimenting with unusual flavours and special editions in order to entice consumers to buy more than one pack. This year some of the fun flavours include Triple Berry by Sainsburys, Marmite & Cheese by M&S and Tomato and Red Leicester by Asda.
Morrisons reported that they have seen a year on year increase of 15% on sales of hot cross buns, equating to over 8 million being sold in the run up to Easter. Their figures show that people in the South of England are the biggest fans of the spiced bun with 28% being sold in the region. Scots however, aren’t as keen with only 3% of sales being made in Scotland.
Morrisons also reported that 12% of the market was their healthier ‘Eat Smart’ hot cross buns and 11% were from their ‘The Best’ range, demonstrating that as a nation, we want to make an effort to be mindful with our treats but also willing to pay more for a premium product.
Have you introduced some unusual flavours into your product ranges? We’d love to hear about them, you can tell us in the comments section below.
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