A bakery has sparked backlash over its decision to change the labels on its gingerbread men to the more “politically correct” gingerbread people.

The owners of JL Bean bakery in Cleveleys, Lancashire, modified the name on their biscuits last year on a “whim,” according to bakery owner Paul Lewis, who spoke to the Blackpool Gazette.

However, a recent customer took offence to the change when she went to order a gingerbread man and was informed that they were actually gingerbread people.

According to the customer’s husband, Jeff Dugdale, a bakery employee told his wife the new gender-neutral name was the proper way to advertise the baked goods.

Dugdale expressed his exasperation with the “politically-correct nonsense” on social media, where others were quick to join in on the criticism.

“Seemingly now you have to call gingerbread men ‘gingerbread persons’ when ordering. As far as I can see there is no law in place for this type of PC nonsense,” Dugdale wrote.

In response to the recent complaints, Lewis said the high street bakery, which was founded in 1933, didn’t make the change because of political correctness.

“My wife just put this little ‘gingerbread persons’ label on them as a whim, and that was last year,” he told the newspaper. “It was never anything to do with political correctness and we’ve not really had any comeback until now.”

According to Lewis, most of the response online has been “jokey” but he was “surprised at how seriously some of the people were taking things.”

“I think maybe there’s been a bit of a misunderstanding,” he said.

And the bakery is still selling the biscuits, according to Lewis’ wife, Charmaine, who emphasised the gingerbread people are no different from gingerbread men before adding: “It is not as if we have added or taken away any little bits.”

Despite the negative reaction over the gender-neutral gingerbread people, JL Bean currently has a four-star rating on Facebook.