Five million ways to avoid supermarket meltdowns

Countdown’s Free Fruit for Kids celebrates two years since launch  

27 October 2017: Parents nationwide have been spared the gruelling task of grocery shopping with kids thanks to five million pieces of free fruit to munch on at Countdown.

Around 50,000 pieces of free fruit are handed out to children every week in the two years since Countdown launched its Free Fruit for Kids programme.

A New Zealand first, Countdown’s Free Fruits for Kids was designed to provide children shopping with their parents with a free and healthy snack, making the shopping experience a lot smoother for parents and caregivers in its 184 stores nationwide. The initiative is one of Countdown’s health and nutrition targets set last year, and aims to help customers make healthier choices.

Countdown General Manager Corporate Affairs James Walker, says the campaign came from a simple idea from a store manager. The idea was piloted in Countdown Botany Downs, and was so popular it was quickly rolled out across all stores.

“We’re hoping the Free Fruit for Kids initiative contributes positively to the health of Kiwi kids by encouraging them to choose a piece of fruit to snack on, while also helping make the shopping experience a little easier. We know how hard it can be to get the shopping done with a child in tow,” says James.

To celebrate the two-year milestone, Countdown team members will be out and about in parks, playgrounds and shopping malls this Saturday 28 October handing out free fruit to kids.

Sarah Hanrahan, CEO of the New Zealand Nutrition Foundation, says initiatives that encourage healthy eating and helps get fruit into kids’ diets are positive.

“There’s no question fruit is a vital part of a healthy diet and we know that some families struggle to achieve the recommended two pieces of fruit and three vegetables. It’s important for kids to develop healthy snacking habits from an early age; having access to this free fruit at Countdown helps encourage this and makes fruit accessible for a really broad range of children.”

The free fruit – a mix of seasonal fruit such as bananas, mandarins, apples and pears – is available in clearly marked baskets in the produce section of each store, and baskets are replenished during the day.

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