Lidl has defended its decision to airbrush Christian symbols from its packaging, claiming the supermarket wants to remain ‘religiously neutral’.
The chain’s new Greek ‘Eridanous’ range has pictures of the famous Anastasis Church in Santorini, Greece, with its world-renowned blue dome roof.
Yet some shoppers noticed that the packaging comes without the Christian crosses normally at the top of the dome and nearby buildings.
Lidl UK’s Facebook page has been swamped with messages decrying their move to alter the pictures.
Daniel Novak wrote: ‘I’m highly disappointed in a company that is bending over to cater to specific people. Why are you hiding from the history?
Eagle-eyed shoppers noticed the cross on top of the famous Anastasis Church in Santorini, Greece had been removed
‘We are all to learn from history, removing it with photoshop will cause the same mistakes of the past to be done over and over again.’
Steve West added: ‘Why have you taken the crosses off the top of Greek churches in your advertising?
‘Is there somebody you will think takes offence? There is. Me, Greeks and many others. I definitely won’t be using you again if you don’t reverse this policy.’
And Daisy Matthews wrote: ‘Why are you erasing the reality from a photo?
‘If there were products from Hindu, Sikh, Jewish, or Muslim countries with their symbols depicted on there I wouldn’t have a problem buying them.
‘As a Christian I feel really hurt, discriminated against, upset and disappointed that you have done this, if it is the case I won’t be shopping at your store anymore.’
Lidl has defended itself against the accusations from shoppers, claiming that they wish to remain ‘neutral’ in religious matters in a bid to include everyone
Customers have threatened not to shop at the supermarket chain unless they change their their policy and alter the images back to their original form
Lennox Moore added: ‘How very disappointing to see your marketing team have decided to air brush the crosses from the domes of the Greek Orthodox churches. This is a huge insult to Christians world wide who have identified with the cross since the formation of the early church.
‘I fail to see what you had hoped to accomplish, we will not be shopping at Lidl until the crosses have been restored. Did you think such a change would go unnoticed or did you think people didn’t care enough to complain?’
Replying to Mr Moore’s Facebook post, Lidl UK said: ‘Hi Lennox, the packaging of our Eridanous range has had a number of design updates since we started selling it. Please be assured that the most recent design was not intended as a statement. All feedback will be passed on for future consideration.’
The new Lidl range includes olive oil, Moussaka, yogurt, breadsticks and gyros
Shoppers have also claimed some of the Halal meat products on sale at Lidl still have images of buildings with minarets, which is architecture traditionally associated with Islam.
The row has also boiled over to other European countries, with shoppers in Belgium and Germany angry at the move.
A Lidl spokesman told Belgian TV station RTL: ‘We are avoiding the use of religious symbols because we do not wish to exclude any religious beliefs.
‘We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging.’
A German Lidl spokesman said: ‘Our intention has never been to shock.
‘We avoid the use of religious symbols on our packaging to maintain neutrality in all religions.
‘If it has been perceived differently, we apologise to those who may have been shocked.’