Bakery chain Greggs has apologised for substituting Jesus for a sausage roll in an image for its first ever advent calendar.
The nativity scene, depicting the three wise men gathered around the crib with a sausage roll inside, is said to have offended Christians and commercialised religious themes.
In a statement featured in a BBC Newsbeat report, Greggs said: “We’re really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention.”
The controversial image is part of the promotional material for its advent calendar, featuring a collection of festive scenes with a Greggs’ makeover, which goes on sale next Monday in selected Greggs shops across the UK for £24.
Following an engaging public response on social media, Greggs received accusations of offensive commercialisation and criticism over the appropriateness of the scene. Twitter users, who reacted to the controversy of the image with both humour and insightfulness, contributed to the wider debate over religion, commercial and popular culture.
How flimsy is your religious belief if it’s rocked by a sausage roll? #Greggs
— Hugh Jazz (@ThurstanStHouse) November 15, 2017
— máirt (@HolyHonda49) November 15, 2017
Daniel Webster, a spokesperson for The UK Evangelical Alliance, told Newsbeat: “Every year some company creates a Christmas controversy for commercial gain. It seems to get earlier this year.”
Despite a wave of public disapproval, the advent calendar will not be withdrawn.
Words: Asya Gadzheva | Subbing: Kate Kūlniece