Countdown has presented its third annual Trolley Report, a detailed analysis of NZ’s grocery trends based on the purchasing behaviour of Countdown’s 2.8 million customers.

According to data, Kiwis bought an average of 18kgs of bananas per person between October 2015 and October 2016, making them once again the top-selling grocery item, followed by the ever-popular Homebrand $1 bread. Seventy percent of the top ten list was fruit or vegetables.

TOP TEN: (1) Bananas; (2) Homebrand $1 bread; (3) Broccoli; (4) Avocado; (5) Sweetcorn; (6) Homebrand Standard 2L milk; (7) Strawberries; (8) Cucumber; (9) Homebrand Standard 3L milk; (10) Red capsicum. 

Kiwis’ favourite meat was chicken, followed by beef mince and beef corned silverside, while salmon was the most popular seafood, followed by NZ live mussels. To meet demand for healthful products, the company has introduced 122 dedicated health and nutritional aisles, and more will roll out across the network. Countdown's general manager of merchandise, Chris Fisher, said they are now committed to giving staff more training on how to talk to customers about fresh fruit and veggies.

"I am also focused on building even closer relationships with our farmers," said Fisher, mentioning last year's launch of the Countdown Egg Producer Programme as an example. He added that soon Countdown would launch other initiatives like this.

Data-driven personalisation will remain a strong focus, just as much as convenience. Additional services like NZ Post parcel collection and Click&Collect are gaining popularity, along with online shopping.

"Convenience is the driving force behind a range of our services, helping give customers back some valuable time," said Dave Chambers, managing director, Countdown.

Between July 2015 and June 2016, the price of Countdown's top 100 basket dropped by 1.2 percent, driven by multiple factors. Last year, the chain reduced the price on chicken and added more than 1,500 products to its Price Down programme. Homebrand $1 bread remain the most popular Lockdown item, followed by Tip Top SuperSoft bread and Raro sachet three pack.

TOP TEN LOCKDOWN PRODUCTS: (1) Homebrand $1 Bread; (2) Tip Top SuperSoft Bread; (3) Raro sachet 3 pack; (4) Peckish Thins Rice Crackers; (5) Kiwi Blue Still Water 1.5 litre; (6) Freya's Bread; (7) Homebrand Tomatoes; (8) Select Biscuits; (9) Signature Range Crinkle Cut Chips; (10) Quilton Toilet Paper. 

There is some good news for the planet as well, as Countdown customers bought nearly 430,000 reusable grocery bags, up 130 percent year-on-year, with Aucklanders being the biggest users in 2016 (180,000 bags). The rollout of fully recyclable meat trays announced in December 2016 is expected to help stop at least 500 tonnes of non-recyclable black foam from entering the landfill every year.