Bakery giant Greggs apologises for replacing Baby Jesus with sausage roll in Advent calendar launch

The image to promote the Greggs Advent calendar.
The image to promote the Greggs Advent calendar.

Greggs the bakers has apologised for placing a sausage roll in the Nativity scene to advertise its Advent calendar.

The chain faced a call for a boycott from the chief executive of the Freedom Association who claimed the product was "sick" and that the Newcastle-based firm had insulted Christianity in a way it would "never dare" other religions.

The £24 advent calendar is available in selected shops and behind each door is a voucher for one of its treats.

The firm's decision to use a publicity image of the Three Wise Men around the crib with the baby Jesus replaced by a sausage roll has caused controversy.

A Greggs spokesperson said: "We're really sorry to have caused any offence, this was never our intention."

Simon Richards, chief executive officer of the Freedom Association, called for a public protest.

He tweeted: "Please boycott @GreggsOfficial to protest against its sick anti-Christian Advent Calendar.

"What cowards these people are: we all know that they would never dare insult other religions!

"They should donate every penny of their profits to @salvationarmyuk."

The Rev Mark Edwards, of St Matthew's Church, in Dinnington, and St Cuthbert's Church, in Brunswick, near Newcastle, said Greggs had been "disrespectful".

He told the Newcastle-based Chronicle: "It goes beyond just commercialism, it's showing a total disregard and disrespect towards one of the greatest stories ever told, and I think people of all faiths will be offended by this."

The advert created a debate on the Greggs Facebook page with a minority of comments complaining about the scene and most people welcoming the product.

Comedian Bob Mortimer wrote on Twitter: "Come on KFC ... show Greggs the way ... put a miniature Jesus in all your Christmas buckets."

And agony aunt Philippa Perry joked in a tweet: "ANYWAY who cheated and opened 24th Dec BEFORE 24th Dec to find this out."