German-owned supermarket Lidl is under fire after removing Christian symbols from Greek food packaging, Keep Talking Greece reports.
ERIDANOUS “Original Greek Product” is a brand of moussaka, olive oil, yogurt, pistachios and feta sold in Lidl. Its packaging shows an aerial view of Anastasis Church, a small Orthodox church on the island of Santorini.
A shopper in Belgium noticed that the picture has been photoshopped in the moussaka package and three crosses were removed. “I am shocked to see the Lidl shops that sell Greek products erase part of the Greek landscape and culture,” he complained.
When asked why the crosses were erased from the packaging, a Lidl spokesman in Belgium said, “We avoid the use of religious symbols because we do not want to exclude any religious beliefs. We are a company that respects diversity and this is what explains the design of this packaging.”
The budget supermarket issued an apology to those who may have been offended by their decision to avoid religious symbols on food packaging. “Our intention has never been to shock,” the spokesman clarified.
Eridanous is also sold in the UK, France and The Netherlands. Shoppers are now criticizing the supermarket chain’s policy to be “religiously neutral.”
In the UK, people expressed their dismay to Lidl UK’s Facebook page. One customer said she wouldn’t mind buying products with images reflecting other religions such as Hinduism or Jewish, reports The Telegraph.
Some customers pointed out that Lidl sells Halal meat products wherein the packaging features Islamic religious architecture. Another shopper threatened to boycott the supermarket.
A spokesman for Lidl UK sang different tune from its Belgian counterpart. The supermarket responded, “We are extremely sorry for any offense caused by the most recent artwork and would like to reassure our customers that this is not an intentional statement. In light of this we will ensure that all feedback is taken into consideration when redesigning future packaging.”