Countdown released its report reviewing its inaugural set of health and nutrition targets introduced in 2017.  Countdown has also updated its targets for 2018.  Countdown’s health and nutrition commitments align with Retail New Zealand’s ‘Reducing childhood obesity’ pledges made in October 2016.

To date Countdown has:

  • Given out over 5 million pieces of fruit since it started its Free Fruit for Kids programme two years ago (over 50,000 pieces per week).
  • Introduced online nutrition information for more than 10,000 products for online shopping customers.
  • Introduced at least one confectionary free checkout in 94 percent of its stores.
  • Undertaken nutritional reviews of 65 percent of eligible private label, including saturated fat, sugar and sodium.
  • Rolled out the Health Star Rating on 737 private label products.
  • Removed 1,600kgs of salt from private label potato chips.
  • Reformulated Homebrand Condensed Tomato Soup to reduce sodium by 36 percent.

New and updated commitments include:

  • Continuing to roll out ‘The Food Project’ for in-store teams to improve their knowledge of fresh fruit and vegetables to better assist customers on choosing and using produce.
  • Adding nutrition information on recipe cards by the end of 2018.
  • Employing a Countdown Nutritionist to support its private label programme and drive health and nutrition commitments.
  • Providing additional advanced training for Quality Assurance team to ensure continued expert advice to the business on health and nutrition decisions.
  • Removing any remaining artificial colours and flavours from Essentials and Countdown branded private label grocery products.

Sarah Hanrahan, CEO, New Zealand Nutrition Foundation says that it’s positive to see Countdown taking strong action to remove salt and sugar from their products.

“It’s good to see a company making these types of commitments in the nutrition space, which will have a positive impact on the communities they serve,” said Hanrahan.

Countdown General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin notes Countdown is committed to continue supporting initiatives that encourage healthy choices as part of wider efforts across industry to address health challenges in New Zealand.

“As a leading New Zealand retailer we have a responsibility to support our customers to make more informed decisions about healthy eating and to ensure we are doing what we can to improve the nutritional value of our own products."

Countdown recently launched its Corporate Responsibly Strategy of 20 commitments out to 2020. One of these commitments was to support and inform its customers to help them make healthier choices.