Too soon? Hot cross buns already back

5th January 2021 | Eativity editors

Post-Christmas grocery shoppers might be excused for feeling a tad confused in the hazy days after December 25, with both Coles and Woolworths already selling hot cross buns. Coles had the buns on-shelf by Boxing Day, while Woolies followed suit soon after, stocking the Easter treat from December 30. For those of you already hanging out for the next long weekend, Good Friday – the day hot cross buns are traditionally eaten – is not until April 2.

Sales of Coles’ hot cross buns in December 2019 revealed a growing consumer demand for the spiced buns outside of the traditional Easter period, with more than 1.6 million hot cross buns – that’s equivalent to 124,000 kilograms – sold in just five days of the raisin-studded goodies landing in Coles stores before January 1, 2020.

Coles Head of Bakery Operations Shaun Percy says early sales show that customers now expect to tuck into the buns before they’ve even polished off their Christmas ham leftovers.

“Early sales of hot cross buns last year tell us there’s very strong demand to see the Easter treat on shelves as soon as possible,” he says. “While we understand there may be different views on selling the Easter treat early, our bakers are constantly being asked by customers when they can get their hands on our hot cross buns.”

The mince pies have only just left the building, and along comes Easter…

Coles customer survey revealed that of those who enjoy hot cross buns, more than half (53%) had enjoyed them outside of the Easter period.

According to Coles’ sales data, South Australians consumed the most Coles hot cross buns per capita in December 2019, followed by Western Australians and Queenslanders. Over the 2020 Easter period, Coles sold more than 66 million hot cross buns, including nearly 12 million in the week leading up to Easter. Meanwhile, Woolworths predicts that this year there’ll be more than 77 million hot cross buns hopping off shelves in the lead-up to Easter.

While new varieties are all well and good, you can’t go past the classic.

Both Coles and Woolworths continue to introduce new varieties of hot cross bun, with chocolate, fruit-free and apple and cinnamon varieties available alongside the traditional version in both supermarkets. This bun season, Woolworths’ apple and cinnamon buns are made with 100 percent Australian-sourced Pink Lady apples.

Mark and Jackie Paganoni, third generation farmers who supply the Pink Lady apples from Moorooduc, Victoria, for the new apple and cinnamon hot cross buns, have been farming Pink Lady apples for 35 years, and harvest two million of them each year. The climate of the Mornington Peninsula in the Southern Victoria region makes the Paganoni’s Pink Lady apples extra sweet, which means they’re the perfect pick for a sweet and spicy Easter bun.

If last year is anything to go by, ALDI is expected to begin selling its hot cross buns in February, while Bakers Delight – which last year topped Choice’s hot cross bun taste test for both traditional and choc chip varieties – only sells the buns over the Easter period.