Crop shortages causes rise in cost of traditional Easter bun treat

Prince Charles became a fan of Oddie's hot cross buns when he visited Lancashire in 2005.
Prince Charles became a fan of Oddie's hot cross buns when he visited Lancashire in 2005.
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Shoppers in Burnley and Pendle will not be able to buy their traditional hot cross buns for anywhere near "one a penny" this Easter.

Crop shortages have driven up the cost of dried fruit and the holiday staple, and other treats such as Eccles cakes, have risen in price after raisin production slumped in America last year.

Andy Howes, manager of Nelson based Oddie's Bakery, which has several shops in Burnley and Padiham, said: “The cost of dried fruit has increased by 60 per cent, and, coupled with the devalued pound and bad harvests, has impacted us all.

“When we sell our hot cross buns, usually from February until April, we mix 1.2 tons of hot cross buns dough, to produce 16,000 of them, so you can see that they are still very popular with our customers.

“Many years ago, though, before the supermarkets and late openings shops began selling them, we’d mix that amount of dough on Maundy Thursday.”

Oddie's hot cross buns were given the royal seal of approval when Prince Charles tasted them during a visit to the area in 2005.

The ingredients include coriander, cinnamom, ginger, cardamon, cloves, fennel and nutmeg.

Bill Oddie, the managing director of the independent Lancashire bakers,said: “The favourites today were the favourites 50 years ago.

“We think we make a very special hot cross bun – and it is a recipe that we have used for many, many years.

“I defy any baker to make one tastier.”

In the past, hot cross buns were traditionally eaten on Good Friday to mark the end of Lent and different parts of the hot cross bun have a certain meaning, including the cross representing the crucifixion of Jesus.

English folklore also includes many superstitions about the hot cross bun.

One claims that if the bun is taken on a sea voyage it will protect the mariners against shipwrecks and if hung on a kitchen wall, the hot cross bun will protect the property against fires.