Two Church of England bishops have criticised retailers for failing to support the country’s only Christian Easter egg, despite evidence of widespread demand.
The chocolate egg comes in a box which carries an explanation of the resurrection. It is thought that supermarkets may be reluctant to stock it because of its Christian message.
Reports indicate that some stores including Waitrose have only ordered a few dozen of the Real Easter Egg, even though tens of thousands of the eggs were sold last year.
The Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Revd John Pritchard, said: “There seems to be a clear-cut agenda to keep credible products with any connection to Christianity off the shelves.”
He added: “Last year churches and schools campaigned with their wallets and ordered tens of thousands online and complained to supermarkets which were not stocking enough.
“If we have to continue to campaign to establish The Real Easter Egg by placing orders online or supporting independent retailers, then so be it.”
The Bishop of Middleton, the Rt Rev Mark Davies, added: “We thought we had proven that people were not afraid to buy an Easter egg which mentions Jesus, gives money to charity and which helps in communicating the true meaning of Easter.
“It seems incredible that the only Easter egg gift on the market which caters for the Christian community is rejected or marginalised by our biggest retailers.”
And a spokesman for the company behind the Eggs said: “Out of the 80 million Easter eggs on sale this year nearly all will be secular, made from non-Fairtrade chocolate and with no charitable donation.”
The Real Easter Egg, which is due to go on sale in February, comes with a free story booklet about Easter.
The product is made by the Meaningful Chocolate Company, and last year more than 70,000 eggs were sold by mail order.
The egg, which costs £3.99, is made using Fairtrade chocolate and 15 pence from each sale is donated to charity.