Countdown supports NZ wheat producers
Countdown has announced that its in-store baked bread and rolls will now be made from more than 10,000 tonnes of milled and Canterbury-grown New Zealand wheat each year, giving the local wheat industry a much needed boost.
Nikhil Sawant, Countdown’s Head of Perishable, Deli and Bakery, says the multi-year commitment means growers can have the confidence they need to invest in their businesses after a tough few years of low wheat prices. “We’re really pleased to provide a more local product for our customers, free from preservatives and additives, while at the same time supporting our local wheat industry to grow and thrive,” says Sawant.
“Increasingly Countdown partners directly with growers and farmers, and these relationships give us a much better understanding of the challenges they face. Giving wheat growers a guaranteed market in our supermarkets provides long-term surety of supply and the knowledge that if they plant crops, we will take them. It sures up the whole supply chain, and allows growers to reinvest in their businesses and look at other opportunities to make the most of their land,” he says.
“We also know that provenance and supporting local Kiwi producers is an increasingly important consideration for our customers and it’s fantastic that the in-store baked bread and rolls they are buying from us are made from wheat grown right here on the Canterbury Plains.”
Syd Worsfold, an arable farmer and United Wheatgrowers (NZ) vice chairperson, says this assurance that a farmer can plant a crop and know that it will be used is welcomed by the hundreds of wheat farmers in Canterbury region.
“It is very encouraging to see Countdown moving to New Zealand milled and grown wheat. It means that we can increase the supply of grain wheat and it’s also a fantastic result for customers as our traceability and quality assurance is world class,” says Worsfold.
“We work closely with the two flour mills here in Christchurch and this demand will increase business for the area. We also have a close relationship with Plant & Food who test and trial our wheat to ensure we continue to produce to the highest standard,” he says.
Countdown’s in-store baked bread and rolls have started using New Zealand wheat from 9 July 2018, and are available in 177 stores nationwide.