Iceland thanks Tory MPs for sales boost from hot cross reaction to ‘tick’ bun

Lee Anderson and Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg were among politicians who reacted to the launch.

The hot tick bun trial was initially advertised by Iceland’s head of development David Lennox
The hot tick bun trial was initially advertised by Iceland’s head of development David Lennox (Liam McBurney/PA)

The boss of Iceland has thanked outraged Tory MPs who criticised the supermarket chain for replacing the cross on some hot cross buns with a tick.

Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, claimed the criticism aimed at the trial move helped the firm’s sales of traditional hot cross buns soar 134% on Thursday.

The bun’s cross is understood to symbolise the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, which Christians remember on Good Friday – the day on which hot cross buns are traditionally intended to be eaten.

Iceland said the decision had been made after a survey of 2,000 people conducted by Censuswide showed a fifth of customers would prefer a tick on their spiced bun.

Mr Walker lauded the reaction on social media on Friday morning, writing: “Big shout out to trendsetters Rees Mogg and 30p Lee for bigging up Iceland’s hot ‘tick’ buns.

“They weren’t for real btw lads – and sales of our devout and trad hot cross buns were up 134% yesterday.”

Though Mr Walker said the buns “weren’t for real”, Iceland confirmed a limited edition run of “hot tick buns” had indeed been made available this week in a number of stores.

Reform UK MP Lee Anderson previously told the Express: “It’s this type of ridiculous namby-pamby virtual-signalling that is leading to millions of people echoing Reform UK’s call to get our country back.”

The Express also reported that Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, the MP for North East Somerset, had waded into the debate by saying: “Who would buy a frozen tick bun?”

The supermarket stocks traditional buns, as well as chocolate, salted caramel, white chocolate and raspberry versions of the Easter bun.

Former Tory donor Mr Walker, who attempted to become a Conservative MP candidate last year, publicly quit the party in October and switched allegiances to Labour.

Danny Webster, director of advocacy at Evangelical Alliance, said: “Easter is when Christians across the globe remember that Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave.

“Whatever Iceland choose to put on their buns, Christians will continue to declare the truth of the cross that Jesus is alive.”

Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg also waded into the debate
Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg also waded into the debate (Victoria Jones/PA)

Simon Calvert, deputy director of The Christian Institute, said: “The glorious truth behind the celebration of Easter is that Christ died on the cross for sins and then rose from the dead to conquer death.

“As others have said, Christians will continue to proclaim this marvellous good news regardless of what Iceland puts on its buns. My advice is: this Easter Sunday, instead of buying hot cross buns, go to church.”

The hot tick bun trial was initially advertised by Iceland’s head of development, David Lennox, who said: “According to the research, it seems some people want to do away with the cross design and move to a tick instead.

“The results surprised us, but in true British fashion we’re putting it to the test by trialling ticks on some of our buns.

“Despite these being a limited run, it will be interesting to see if the British public take a liking to buttering their ticked buns. However, we’d of course never get rid of the original and much-loved Easter staple!”