Hot cross buns already made their way to Countdown’s supermarket shelves this January, well ahead of Easter, and sales are expected to raise more than $100,000 for the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal.

According to Chris Fisher, general manager merchandise, Countdown, one million of the Easter treats have been sold to date, and lovers of the traditional bun will be glad to try this year’s new range.

“As well as the traditional current and sultana buns we sell fruitless buns, Hershey’s chocolate buns and a hot cross loaf,” said Fisher. “This year we have also introduced two new flavours apple and spice, and chocolate and orange hot cross buns. Sales so far indicated that Kiwis love them.”

All of Countdown’s 184 stores will submit their buns in the hope of taking out the title of ‘Hot Cross Bun Bakery of The Year’, with the winning teams being announced in March. Entries will be judged on their visual appeal; crossing and internal appearance; crumb texture, fruit quantity, overall quantity, volume and taste. Ingredients are sourced from local suppliers, including 55,000kgs of sultanas, 80,000 kgs of currants and 12,000kgs of Hershey’s chocolate chips.