The traditional Hot Cross Bun is still the season favourite

The traditional Hot Cross Bun is still the season favourite

Countdown has revealed that the traditional hot cross bun continues to be New Zealand’s go-to Easter bun, despite a growing number of Kiwi customers opting to try new flavours.

Countdown sells over two million packets of hot cross buns over the Easter season, using the equivalent of 28 transport trucks of flour and two transport trucks of sultanas to make the festive treats. This year, shoppers continue to choose more of the traditional bun while also embracing some popular collaborations.

“To meet changing Easter bun preferences, this year we teamed up with Cadbury to create Countdown Hot Cross Buns with Cadbury Caramilk and also Hot Cross Buns with Cadbury Mocha,” says Pieter de Wet, Commercial Director for Fresh at Countdown.

“This collab has been incredibly popular and we’re now nearly sold out of both flavours, but despite these new treats, our traditional hot cross buns continue to be the firm favourite in Kiwi households.”

“In 2023, we’ve seen an uplift in demand for our Fruitless Hot Cross Buns, which will be shocking for traditionalists as we know the fruit is often their favourite part!”

The three weeks leading into Easter are always the busiest for Countdown stores across the country, with all teams, especially the bakeries ramping up to deliver the fresh Easter treats New Zealanders go crazy for.

This year, Countdown has again donated 5c to KidsCan from each packet sold of its Traditional Hot Cross Bun range.

“We’re again proud to support KidsCan’s Early Childhood Programme during the Easter season and to help our most vulnerable Kiwi kids with food, clothing and other essentials in the lead up to winter. Last year, thanks to Countdown shoppers, we were able to donate $100,000 to KidsCan, and it looks like we’ll be able to do that again this year.”

As the Easter Bunny gets closer, Easter eggs start to hop out the door. Across Aotearoa, Countdown shoppers have already consumed 1.8 million Easter confectionery products (that represents around 35% of the country’s population in chocolate). That number’s only expected to rise as around 65-70% of Easter confectionery is sold in the final lead up to Easter weekend.

“Last year over the total Easter season, our customers purchased over four million Easter confectionery products with the upper North Island zone selling the most.

“This year it seems people are wanting to change it up and so we’re noticing a rise in popularity with interesting new flavours and more vegan and dairy-free chocolate options being sold.

“We’ve made sure to bring in all sorts of new options for our customers. Whether they’re vegan or gluten free, we wanted to ensure that our customers can come into our stores and get something for all of their whānau to celebrate Easter,” says Pieter.

Beyond Easter treats, Countdown is seeing an uplift in savoury or sweet snacking items (chips, crackers, biscuits) and cold beverages (soft drinks, juice, beer, sparkling wine). Baked goods beyond buns are also popular for the Easter season including croissants, baps and dinner rolls.

“We know Easter is a time for family, so products that are great for get-togethers are selling well” says Pieter.

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