Countdown converts one of the most popular apple varieties to organic as more Kiwis choose to buy organic
Countdown has become the first large New Zealand supermarket retailer to offer only 100 per cent organic Braeburn apples at supermarkets nationwide, rather than the conventionally-grown variety, as demand for organics grows at more than twice the speed of the conventional market.
Braeburn is one of the most popular varieties of apples in New Zealand, with more than five million apples selling locally every year. Countdown’s decision to move to certified organic Braeburn is a major play to help make organic produce more affordable and accessible for Kiwis.
Research shows that eight out of ten New Zealanders buy organic products at least fortnightly, and 75 per cent of those who are regular organic purchasers say they rely on certification to determine if a product is organic*.
Countdown’s organic Braeburn apples are certified by BioGro. Countdown is also in the final stages of becoming the firstlarge supermarket chain to gain organic certification with AsureQuality across the majority of its stores.
Countdown’s Head of Produce, Steve Sexton, says Countdown is focused on developing its organic range, particularly fresh produce, to make organic cheaper and more widely available.
“Our customers are telling us that the core reasons they choose to buy organic are the taste, their health and a desire to protect the environment. We’ve been working closely with our organic growers for several years now and these relationships help us remove some of the additional costs of growing organic and pass these savings onto our customers through lower prices.
“An increasing number of Kiwis are really focused on their health and wellness and organic products are seen to be the pinnacle of this range. We’re delighted to be the first large supermarket chain to stock organic Braeburn over conventional and give more Kiwis’ the chance to buy organic,” he says.
Countdown’s supplier of organic braeburn apples is BOSTOCK New Zealand, which started growing organic apples in 1996 and is the largest organic apple grower in Australasia. Owner John Bostock says they have seen a significant increase in demand for their range of organic products both here and globally.
“Growing healthy premium produce in partnership with nature is our priority. We want to leave the rivers and land in a good condition for future generations. We started our grower journey as conventional farmers and after having young children and seeing the liberal use of pesticides and artificial substances, like many of our customers, we had concerns and this encouraged us to start looking for healthier alternatives. In 1996 we converted our farm to organic and now we export to more than 20 countries around the world.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Countdown and now be able to offer more Kiwis the chance to try our organic Braeburn apples,’ says John Bostock.
Countdown is one of the major sponsors of the national Organic Week Aotearoa event (29 April to 5 May), which is an industry led week aiming to highlight and educate New Zealanders about the benefits of organics on the environment and their health.
*Source: 2018 New Zealand Organic Sector Market Report, Commissioned by Organics Aotearoa NZ