Supermarkets are reluctant to stock an Easter egg which mentions Jesus Christ and his crucifixion, the Church of England has warned.
The Real Easter Egg, which has been launched by the Church of England, carries a panel which explains that Jesus was crucified on Good Friday and resurrected on Easter Sunday, and its packaging also depicts a hill with three crosses on it.
But during negotiations with stockists the Church found that some large chains are resistant to stocking such overtly religious products for children.
A statement on the church’s website cautioned: “Despite the obvious demand not all UK supermarkets are planning to stock the egg next year.”
Each year more than 80 million chocolate Easter eggs, none of which make any mention of Christianity, are sold in the UK.
Two of the supermarket chains who have not yet made a decision said that in principle they were not opposed to selling the eggs.
A spokesman for Waitrose said: “We have asked the supplier for more information on this new product but in principle it is something that we would be really interested in.”
And a spokesman for the Co-op said that the store hadn’t made a decision yet.
Nigel McCulloch, the Bishop of Manchester, welcomed the eggs, saying: “There are over 80 million chocolate Easter Eggs sold each year in the UK.
“And incredibly not one of them mentions the Christian understanding of Easter on the box.”
He added: “We hope that all our supermarkets will stock the first and only Easter egg in the UK that explains the significance of Easter and, through the charitable donation, brings to light the Easter themes of hope and new life.”
Nearly 8,000 faith schools are being encouraged to buy the eggs, which will be made from fair-trade chocolate, and donations from the profits will be made to two charities: Baby Lifeline and Traidcraft Exchange.
The eggs have been developed by Manchester-based The Meaningful Chocolate Company, working in consultation with a number of churches and dioceses.
Last September it was revealed that thousands of schools were adopting a standardised spring break, rather than moving it to coincide with Easter.
Research by The Daily Telegraph newspaper found that schools in a third of local authority areas had adopted a fixed two-week break.
Religious leaders criticised the move for downplaying the significance of Easter for the sake of convenience.
Local councils determine the holiday dates for state schools. A survey of half the local councils in England by The Daily Telegraph found that one third had adopted or were about to adopt a fixed spring break.
However, 46 out of 73 authorities said their schools’ spring holiday will continue to correspond to the date of Easter.