Eggs and buns on demand
EASTER excitement is building already, even though it’s only January and many people are still recovering from Christmas and New Year celebrations.
For Ballina youngsters Mayha Nowlan, 9, Mason Hilyard, 8, and his sister Tarnie, 7, the religious celebration is the time when the Easter Bunny brings them plenty of sweet treats.
“We love Easter because we love eating all the chocolate,” Tarnie said.
But her parents, Tim and Joscelyn Hilyard, aren’t as keen to see Easter eggs and hot-cross buns filling the supermarket shelves so early in the year.
“We’re just getting over Christmas and all the Easter stuff is already coming out,” Ms Hilyard said.
“But I guess that the weeks go pretty quickly, so it will probably be Easter before we know it.”
Good Friday falls on April 2 this year, so there are still 11 weeks before Easter.
But major supermarket chains have already got Easter products in store.
Woolworths is now selling hot-cross buns, and chocolate eggs will be available from Monday. Boxed Easter egg sets will be available in mid-February.
Coles also has started selling hot-cross buns, as well as a range of Easter eggs.
But Graham Kerr, the owner of Ballina speciality candy store I Luv Lollies, said it was far too early to be ordering Easter eggs.
“Easter is our busiest time of the year, but I probably won’t order anything until February or March,” he said.
“People aren’t asking for Easter eggs yet.
“But when I get them in, I’ll have a whole shop full. I rearrange everything for Easter.
“We would sell hundreds and hundreds of Easter eggs.”
However, Mr Kerr admitted that the prices being offered by major chains was hurting his small business.
“Every year it gets harder and harder to compete,” he said.
The supermarkets have defended their decision to stock Easter products in January, saying they are simply meeting the needs of their customers.
Woolworths’ media relations manager, Benedict Brook, said hot-cross buns were ‘snapped up’ as soon as they hit the shelves.
“People like eating hot-cross buns. Every year they are our biggest-selling bakery item up to Easter,” he said.
“We will be putting the more personal consumer Easter eggs out for sale in mid-January.”
Spokesman for Coles, Jim Cooper, said their buns had gone on the shelves in January for years.
“The simple reason is customer demand,” he said.
Mr Cooper also said the supermarkets would sell ‘hundreds of thousands of Easter products’ in January.