Spencer Sonn, Countdown’s Managing Director

Countdown has announced it is freezing the price of more than 500 essential products to help give New Zealanders more certainty on food prices as the country moves into winter. Countdown customers will find staples such as diced tomatoes, butter, cheese, sugar, flour, shaved ham, hot roast chicken, carrots and pumpkin at the same low price all through the colder months, no matter what happens with inflation and costs.

Spencer Sonn, Countdown’s Managing Director, says the move aims to buck the current inflationary environment where the company is receiving millions of dollars of cost increase requests every month from suppliers who are facing higher fuel, raw material and freight costs. “As we head into the chillier months, the cost of living is undeniably top of everyone’s minds,” says Sonn.

“We want to help Kiwis’ money go further despite the pressures everyone is facing with increasing costs, and that’s why we’ve pledged that the price of these 500-plus essentials won’t change,” he says.

In the last ten months, Countdown has received close to 1,000 cost increase requests from its suppliers, more than double the same period the year before. The average increase requested is just over 9% as a result of suppliers’ own costs of raw products, fuel, fertiliser, grains and import costs also increasing.

“There are so many factors impacting food prices at the moment and every week we’re working with suppliers to help offset cost increases as much as possible so that our customers aren’t impacted. But the reality is that we are all impacted by the current environment,” says Sonn.

“Every week we’ll also still have more than 5,000 specials and discounts across our stores and online, as well as more than 3,000 products on Great Price for even more certainty,” says Sonn.

Foodstuffs rolls back prices on most shopped grocery items

In a move that Foodstuffs estimates will save customers over half a million dollars each week, the two New Zealand owned cooperatives, which operate the New World, PAK’nSAVE, and Four Square brands, have announced that from Monday 16 May they will roll back the prices on more than 110 of the most shopped grocery items to what they averaged over 25 January to 25 April last year. 

Foodstuffs NZ Managing Director, Chris Quin says that the co-ops considered the challenge of rising food prices and where it was hitting shoppers hardest, using its data insight teams to identify the everyday products that Foodstuffs customers buy most often.

“Our customers buy more than 1.3 million of these products each week, so we then looked at the 13-week average price of these items across 25 January to 25 April last year and are dropping the prices back to those levels from Monday 16 May until 14 August 2022.”

The basket includes frozen and fresh fruit and veges, meat and dairy products like butter and cheese, tea, coffee, sugar, flour, and personal care items like nappies and soap.

Across this basket of goods, New World, PAK’nSAVE, and Four Square stores are reducing prices by an average of 10%.  

Quin explains: “This is not a marketing stunt. It’s a real saving for our customers and a real cost to our business, as a result of this price rollback our stores will be selling some items below cost. Other promotions will continue over this time. These are extraordinary times and kiwis must be able to afford the everyday items they need in their weekly shop over the next few months. As locally owned co-operatives we have a responsibility to step up and our store owners are committed to this initiative.”

“Globally, food cost increases and the pace of food price inflation are at near record levels. While New Zealanders are facing rising costs across the board, the supermarket checkout is the place where all of the cost pressures are coming to a head as food producers and manufacturers are being hit with every global and domestic price hike. Transport and fuel costs, global supply chain issues, currency changes, skills shortages and increases in the price of equipment and ingredients are just a few of the challenges our suppliers are facing, and are adding to the cost of growing, making and retailing groceries in Aotearoa.”

“With household budgets under pressure, we’re working to buy well and run our business as efficiently as possible so we’re not adding cost. As two New Zealand cooperatives owned by our 430 store owners throughout New Zealand, we’re on the shop floor every day, committed to our local communities and being held accountable by New Zealanders every day for what we do. 

“The next few months will be challenging for New Zealand households, so this is something meaningful we can do as a business to help out,” says Quin.

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