Start of a new year means ... hot cross buns

It's just a week after Christmas and two days after New Year's Eve but the supermarkets are already looking to Easter.

As of yesterday, both Woolworths and Coles are now selling hot cross buns - a whopping 109 days before Easter Sunday.

If you've been hanging out for some fruit buns (or fruit-free, if that takes your fancy) both chains are selling them at the same price - in six and nine-packs at two for $7.

Perhaps it's a little too early for them to get into an Easter-themed price war.

The idea of supermarkets looking to the next festive period while we're still cleaning up from the last one seems to be more common these days.

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But, as far as Woolworths is concerned, there's nothing at all unusual about hot cross buns in January. A spokeswoman said they've been doing it for ages.

She says hot cross buns go on sale at the same time every year, in the week following Christmas.

The reason seems to be that the customers love hot cross buns - and the supermarkets love to see them buying them.

The spokeswoman said the buns are one of the best-selling bakery items in the lead-up to Easter.

She said Woolworths expects to sell more than 50 million individual hot cross buns in the months before Easter.

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