Greggs the bakers has apologised for placing a sausage roll in the Nativity scene to advertise its Advent calendar.
The chain, which has branches across the Portsmouth area, faced a call for a boycott from the chief executive of the Freedom Association who claimed the product was ‘sick’ and 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, CEO 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.’