Customers get hot and cross as retailers roll out Easter treat

It's out with Christmas, in with hot cross buns at Coles supermarkets across the country.

It's out with Christmas, in with hot cross buns at Coles supermarkets across the country. Photo: Twitter/Declan Clausen

For those who spent Christmas lunch hankering for Easter, fear not: Hot cross buns are back.

With more than 100 days until Easter, the seasonal staple has hit supermarket shelves across Australia to feed the appetite of hundreds of thousands needing a doughy cinnamon, chocolate or Vegemite treat.

Coles expects to sell more than 2.5 million hot cross buns of all varieties before year’s end, surpassing the 2.1 million sold in December 2018.

“Customers love our delicious hot cross buns and the early sales in December tell us that there is strong demand to try the limited-edition flavours before the traditional Easter period,” Coles’ executive general manager of fresh, Andy Mossop, said on Tuesday.

The newest bun on the block is a fruity brioche variety made with sultanas, cranberries and candied orange peel, which Coles said created a more plump bun.

If the retailer’s 2021 data is enough to go by, Victorians have the biggest craving for December hot cross buns, particularly in Taylors Hill in Melbourne’s north-west.

The Easter buns are also in high demand in Hervey Bay in Queensland and Batemans Bay in New South Wales.

Rival Woolworths has also stocked up on hot cross buns, putting them on the shelves on Boxing Day.

Aldi, however, is standing out from the crowd. It has reportedly decided to hold off on hot cross bun sales until January 20.

“The Australian-made Baker’s Life range will include traditional fruit hot cross buns, fruitless and chocolate chip,” an Aldi spokesperson told

“Our customers can also look forward to the addition of some new varieties closer to Easter.”

Some sharp-eyed customers picked the discount chain up on its Easter hold-off, though.

“Aldi sells hot cross buns year round. Only near easter are they labelled HCBs. The rest of the year they are labelled ‘spiced fruit buns’,” one customer tweeted.

As in the past, seeing hot cross buns in the shops before the Christmas tinsel has been put away can invoke a visceral response.

“RIDICULOUS,” Tweed Heads woman Gail Read Matthews posted to Facebook.

“The cross has certain significance which is not relevant all year round. So no, [supermarkets should not sell them] with the cross,” Facebook user Laura said.

“I’ll be writing a sternly worded letter to [Prime Minister] Anthony Albanese. Something must be done. Boxing Day is too early for hot cross buns in supermarkets,” Newcastle Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen tweeted before clarifying he was just joking.

But not everyone was unhappy.

“Wait. Hot cross buns start tomorrow right?” one eager consumer tweeted on Christmas Day.

“Woolworths, if you don’t bring back the dark chocolate espresso ones you’re dead to me!”

Hopefully the supermarket chain obliged. It had a broad range on sale by Tuesday.

“Our teams across the country are baking up a storm to bring Aussies the best innovation, quality and value that Woolworths has to offer this Easter,” Woolworths merchandise manager Donald Keith said.

“We sold more than 1.8 million individual hot cross buns the first week they were on sale last year, and we anticipate the same as customers look to close off 2022 with a delicious and favourite treat.”

Elsewhere, economist Stephen Koukoulas suggested hot cross buns should be sold all year round “to save the anxiety of those with little else to worry about”.

“I don’t understand why some folk are so worried and hung up about when retailers start selling hot cross buns,” he said.

The 2023 Easter weekend begins with Good Friday on April 7.

-with AAP

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