Sales of hot cross buns are up 40% at Waitrose & Partners compared with the same period in 2018, as shoppers enjoy the supermarket chain’s wide range of flavour combinations for the seasonal treat. In addition, searches for ‘hot cross buns’ on www.Waitrose.com are up over 11%.
This year, the retailer has launched its biggest range to date, totalling 13 different variations. New lines include Waitrose 1 Elderflower, Lemon and Lovage Hot Cross Buns, which are made using a bespoke Waitrose sourdough, soaked fruit and double cream with elderflower extract, lemon zest and lovage (an aromatic herb with hints of lemon and anise). Also new are Waitrose 1 Orange, Cranberry & Jasmine Hot Cross Buns – made with the same bespoke Waitrose sourdough recipe, but featuring dried cranberries, orange peel and an infusion of Jasmine green tea. Both versions are finished with a hand-applied cross and are available in-store and online for £1.89
Waitrose & Partners product developer Stuart Owens said: “We know how much our customers love hot cross buns, so we’ve introduced even more delicious flavour combinations including unexpected ingredients like lovage. There’s nothing more delicious than a toasted bun smothered in butter, with a cup of tea!”
Total sales for Waitrose last week (to Saturday February 23) were down 4.3% compared with the equivalent week last year.
IT director Mike Sackman said: “Comparisons were affected by shoppers stocking up last year for the anticipated ‘Beast from the East’, and also impacted by the later fall of the half term holidays this year for many areas of the country.
“The warmer weather led to sales of food such as olives, antipasti and ‘food to go’ salads and sushi. Our ‘Beautifully Simple’ campaign of fresh and simple recipes is proving popular with customers, with many picking up the ingredients in our shops and online.
“And last week we were proud to be voted top for in-store shopping in the Which? supermarket survey, winning five star ratings for store appearance, queuing time, Partner [staff] availability and our range of products. In addition, our online shopping saw us pick up five stars for the quality of our own-label products, fresh produce and the service of our drivers.”