We're barely over the Christmas rush — but hot cross buns are already being sold at Australian supermarkets across the country.
Eagle-eyed shoppers have shared photos of the Easter treats piled on shelves at Coles stores around Australia on social media — but not everyone is impressed by the buns' early arrival.
It means customers can get their hot cross bun fix nearly four months before Easter Sunday, which will fall on April 21 in 2019.
Melbourne man Michael Lampard was one of many shocked Aussies who spotted the items in store and shared the evidence on social media.
Posting on Instagram, he wrote: "Coles winning! #hotcrossbuns! And just in time for Easter!" along with a photo of packets of the buns being sold for A$3.50 at an unknown store.
The @sharethedignityaustralia Instagram account also posted a photo of shelves laden with hot cross buns with the caption: "Noooooo! That can't be right!" while Perth Instagram user @monikkkkkkkkkka also uploaded a picture of the snacks, sarcastically writing: "Not a day too late! #hotcrossbuns #easter #boxingday."
In a statement, Coles confirmed the national rollout of hot cross buns and defended the controversial decision.
"While some may object to hot cross buns before Easter, early sales of the traditional treat
suggest that most can't get them early enough," the statement reads.
While traditional hot cross buns are now available in Coles stores, a range of new flavours will be released nationwide by the first week of January.
Those new flavours include Coles Finest Indulgent Sticky Date and Butterscotch, Coles Finest
Indulgent Traditional Fruit and Coles Finest Indulgent Salted Caramel, while new jumbo hot cross buns and an expanded gluten-free range will also be sold along with more traditional fruit, chocolate, apple and cinnamon, and fruit-free versions.
Category manager Freddie Hancock stood by the chain's decision to stock the traditional Easter treat well before the holiday.
"We sold millions of hot cross buns in January last year and are rapt to be able to offer our
customers some new flavours to enjoy now, and some more to look forward to in 2019.
"And of course, the traditional hot cross bun made with 100 per cent Aussie fruit remains a favourite."
However, many Twitter users were outraged by the arrival of hot cross buns during the Christmas period.
"Dear @Coles Supermarkets selling Hot Cross Buns in the middle of summer one hundred and fifteen days before Easter, No. Regards, A Warm and Slightly Annoyed Customer," one Twitter user wrote, while another added: "I won't buy any hot cross buns and will boycott Coles."
Another said: "I love hot cross buns, but that is ridiculous. At least let us finish Christmas leftovers first."
On Instagram users were no less forgiving.
"Give us a break! Not even New Year!" one person wrote, while another said: "It's so so sooooooo wrong."
Hot cross buns are expected to hit rival Woolworths' stores in early January.