Nikhil Sawant

By launching its new Egg Producer Programme, Countdown is making a commitment to take future supply of free-range and barn eggs through individual partnership agreements with New Zealand farmers. Eligible farms need to share their capacity investment plans and animal welfare information with Countdown.
“What this programme means is that our free-range and barn egg farmers have certainty that their investment into increasing production will pay off,” Nikhil Sawant, Countdown’s merchandise manager perishables & deli, told SupermarketNews. Even though free-range eggs account for just 18 percent of the entire NZ production, the company has been increasing their supply to meet customer demand.
Three farms (Oitaka Valley, Wholesome NZ and FRENZ) are already part of t99he Egg Producer Programme, and more are likely to join over the coming months. Strong encouragement has also come from the Green Party and the Chair of the Primary Production Select Committee.
“We have been delighted with the positive response to date. Since launching we have had many more expressions of interest, and we are currently working through the details with these producers,” said Sawant.
Increasing free-range and barn supply doesn’t mean ‘affordable’ eggs will disappear. Countdown will continue to give customers a choice, based on their budget or preference. “Different stores will have different ranges, depending on the purchasing patterns of customers in those stores. For example, a store like Ponsonby has 75-80 percent free-range and barn stock.”