Responsible & ethical sourcing

In accordance with the expectations of our customers, the community, and the requirements of the law, we endeavour to always operate responsibly within the community and we expect the same from our suppliers. Woolworths Limited, the parent company of Countdown, has in place an ethical sourcing policy supported by an audit programme. You can find more details pertaining to these policies here.

Egg choices and quality

At Countdown, we give our customers a choice between Free Range, Barn and Caged Eggs.

Over the last few years our customers have been increasingly moving to non-caged eggs. Currently around 40% of our egg sales are from non-caged eggs (Free Range, Barn & Organic). 60 of our stores already have dedicated more space to Free Range eggs rather than caged eggs.

At the same time, there is also continued demand for affordable eggs and more pressure than ever before to lower the cost of food. Eggs are a good source of protein and it’s important to us that we continue to provide affordable eggs to meet this demand.

The New Zealand egg industry has committed to phasing out conventional cage eggs by 2022, under the Animal Welfare (Layer Hens) Code of Welfare 2012.

Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn

The new Countdown Egg Producer Programme for Free Range and Barn is our commitment to meet the growing consumer demand for these types of eggs. 

Find out more

Paper and timber

All of Countdown’s own brand tissue, toilet paper and kitchen towel products are sourced from independently certified, sustainable sources.

All of the paper used in the production of the weekly Countdown mailer comes from certified sustainable sources, either through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certifications (PEFC).


Microbeads are micro-plastic particles (0.1-0.5 millimetres in size) added as exfoliating agents to personal care products. Countdown has phased out the use of plastic micro-beads in all of our own brand skin care and body wash products.

Animal welfare

Countdown’s own brand products are produced to a high standard of animal welfare. We do not use animal testing in own brand products.


The vast majority of our banana are sourced from Ecuador and a few pre-packaged bananas from the Philippines. As part of our Woolworths Quality Assurance programme (WQA) we’re committed to sourcing quality, ethical foods from both here and offshore.  Our banana suppliers have been audited and comply with our strict standards.

GM food

Woolworths own brand products do not use genetically modified (GM) ingredients. Our requirements on GM ingredients are articulated to our own brand suppliers in our Brand Guidelines and Woolworths Quality Assurance (WQA) Standard.

Palm oil

Woolworths Limited is a member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), and all Woolworths and Countdown own brand products only use RSPO certified sustainable palm oil.

Sustainable product certification

At Countdown, as part of our emphasis on responsible and ethical sourcing we work with organisations such as Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand, and the SPCA, to provide accreditation on various products for our customers. Click here to find out more.