Is it too early for Hot Cross Buns?

Kiwi’s consume one million of the Easter treats in January alone

13 February 2017: Whilst some people might be a little bemused to see Easter treats in their local supermarket already, thousands of hot cross buns have already flown off the shelves this January.

Kiwis seem to have a love affair with hot cross buns no matter the time of the year. It’s not unusual to see the sultana and current buns on Countdown shelves in the first few weeks of January.

Chris Fisher, Countdown’s General Manager Merchandise says that as soon as customers have finished with their mince pies and pavlovas, they're already thinking about Easter.

“Last year Countdown sold thousands of packs of hot cross buns in January alone and sales figures to date this year show that more than one million individual buns have already been bought and eaten,” he says.

This year, Countdown has launched a new range of hot cross buns and they are bound to please lovers of the traditional bun.

“As well as the traditional current and sultana buns we sell fruitless buns, Hershey’s chocolate buns and a hot cross loaf.  This year we have also introduced two new flavours apple and spice, and chocolate and orange hot cross buns,” says Fisher. “Sales so far indicated that Kiwi’s love them.”

Countdown’s bakers all over the country have their mixing bowls churning through the day as they anticipate making hundreds of thousands of dough mixtures as they lead into Easter.

To hone their baking skills, Countdown runs an annual challenge across all its in-store bakeries, with teams vying for the title of ‘Hot Cross Bun Bakery of The Year.’

Our 184 Countdown stores submit their best buns to a panel of experts who judge the Easter treats on visual appeal; the crossing and internal appearance; crumb texture, fruit quantity, overall quantity, volume and of course, taste. The winning teams will be announced in March.

“We have made a special effort to source our ingredients from local suppliers and are ordering more than 600,000kgs (or the equivalent of 100 elephants) of South Island grown and milled flour, which makes us one of the largest hot cross bun producers in New Zealand using Kiwi grown wheat,” says Chris Fisher.

Other ingredients include:

  • 55,000kgs of sultanas, equivalent to 46 Mini Cooper cars. 
  • 80,000kgs of currants, equivalent of five and a half average trucks
  • 12,000kgs of Hershey’s chocolate chips, that is the equivalent of 120 average rugby players

Countdown was the first retailer to be selling hot cross buns in 2017 and a portion of the profits from all hot cross buns is donated to the Countdown Kids Hospital Appeal which sees crucial medical equipment donated to children’s hospital awards across the country. This year the hot cross bun sales are expected to raise more than $100,000 for the charity.

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