Customers have been left bemused after “well-fired” loaves with black crusts started appearing on Sainsbury’s shelves.

People have taken to social media to criticise the in-store bakery product, suggesting Sainsbury’s has started selling burnt bread. However, others have embraced the unusual loaves, and the supermarket insists the bread is being baked correctly.

A Sainsbury’s spokesperson said: “Sainsbury’s Well-Fired Loaf originated in the late 1980s in our Castle Vale store in Birmingham, when the bakery manager at the time created the line in response to the popularity of the loaf from independent bakers.

“As its name suggests, the Well-Fired Loaf is baked for longer to create a unique crust, which makes it a great option to have with soup.”

She added that the loaves were proving particularly popular in Sainsbury’s northern stores.

Here is how the bread has gone down on social media:

[View the story "Burnt or Beautiful?" on Storify]