Some manufacturers appear to have dropped the mention of Easter from their chocolate egg product ranges, prompting criticism that the move was driven by a desire to avoid hurting the religious sentiments of non-Christians.
A passing glance at a supermarket shelf appears to confirm the trend. Cadbury's product line is called "Dairy Milk Egg Hunt Pack"; Sainsbury's opted for "milk chocolate egg"; Nestlé is using "Aero's chocolate egg with bubbly bars" in its advertisements; and Green & Blacks refers to Easter as "the festival of chocolate and loveliness".
However, not all chocolatiers have fallen in line and some have gone out of their way to stand up for Easter. Meaningful Chocolate Company founder David Marshall said: "It's deeply disappointing and shameful that some of the biggest companies in the country are censoring the centuries' old tradition.
"It shows they're insensitive and uncomfortable with the Christian faith," he said. His company's Fairtrade charity continues to use "Real Easter Egg" on the packaging of its Easter products. In a survey conducted by the company to, 79% of 2,000 respondents wanted to see Easter used in the branding of seasonal chocolate products.
However, some manufacturers denied implementing a ban on Easter. A spokeswoman for Nestlé said: "There has been no deliberate decision to drop the word Easter from our products." According to the Daily Star a Cadbury Spokeswoman added: "We do not have a policy to drop Easter from our eggs."
At least one minister applauded the public's apparent attachment to Easter. Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, the Bishop of Salisbury, said: "There seems to be a real resistance by the public to remove the word Easter from these gifts. Perhaps people understand that the festival is religious and do not want to see it turned into something secular."