Last year Countdown sold more than 11.9 million individual hot cross buns. The Kiwi favourites continue to be the traditional flavour closely followed by chocolate. Easter chocolate sales ramp up the week before Good Friday.  Last year, Kiwis’ favourite chocolate Easter confectionery was marshmallow eggs, followed by Cadbury Creme Eggs, hollow eggs and bunnies.

Easter is considered to be the holiday of over-indulgence with plenty of delicious treats from freshly baked hot cross buns to cute and tasty chocolate bunnies. This year, Countdown dietitian Deb Sue has pulled together some quick and easy survival tips to help get Kiwis through the long-weekend holiday.

“It’s ok to enjoy some treats – just try and aim for moderation,” said Sue. “There is research around the health benefits of a little dark chocolate here and there, so this year why not grab a good quality dark chocolate bunny or egg.  At Countdown, we’ve also considered customers with allergies a lot more this year with the introduction of a dairy-free chocolate Easter egg and a gluten-free hot cross bun.”

Countdown has also released some great healthy Easter recipes alternatives including vegan chocolate cupcakes, gluten-free hot cross bun scones and dairy free banana and coconut brownies. Opening hours across the country vary at Easter, so being organised is key. Most Countdown stores are closed on Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

“You can also use the extra time at Easter for a chance to get creative in the kitchen. There are a number of great homemade treats trending such as Easter slice, and using a chocolate bunny as a milkshake cup,” added Sue

A trend this year is adaptations on traditional Easter treats such as Countdown’s limited edition hot cross bun flavoured ice cream, with juicy raisins and a smooth hot cross bun flavour ripple right through it.

“It’s no secret that Kiwis love their hot cross buns. But we’re also amongst the biggest consumers of ice cream in the world at a staggering 22-23 litres per person per year,” said Sue.  “I wouldn’t advocate eating quite that much ice-cream but the limited edition hot cross bun ice-cream is great for that special treat with family or try it with a warmed brioche hot cross bun as the end to a great Easter meal.”