The sandwich chain Pret A Manger has caved in to religious protests and withdrawn its new Virgin Mary crisps. The own-brand variety was pulled from the shelves after a campaign led by the Catholic organisation Protect the Pope.
Catholics had complained the name was offensive because of the reference to Christ’s mother, despite it also being the common name for the non-alcoholic version of the Bloody Mary cocktail. Pret A Manger’s chief executive, Clive Schlee, initially defended the name of the crisps but gave the order to withdraw them after more complaints were received.
Unopened bags of Virgin Mary crisps, advertised as “flavoured with Worcestershire sauce and chilli”, will be given to charities for the homeless. The company said: “We have received calls regarding a new range of crisps we launched this week. We don’t want to offend a single customer, so we have responded immediately and taken them out of our shops.”
Protect the Pope welcomed the climbdown and said on its website: “Clive Schlee and Pret A Manger deserve our unreserved thanks for listening to our concerns as Catholics and for acting so quickly to remove the brand of crisps. One of the things we need to go away and think about is what this incident tells us about how we defend our faith in the future. We’ve been passive for too long in the face of mockery of our faith and discrimination against us as Catholics.”