Countdown calls it what it is. Period.

Countdown is now calling products like pads, tampons and menstrual cups exactly what they are across its online shopping platform, re-naming the ‘personal care and sanitary products’ and ‘incontinence products’ categories to ‘Period and Continence Care’.

This move will see Countdown deliver a world-first for supermarkets, with no other local or international retailer using the word period to describe the products women buy for their period.  Products previously described as ‘intimate hygiene’ will also now be categorised online as ‘genital washes and wipes’.

General Manager Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability, Kiri Hannifin, says this is another step Countdown is taking to help remove a stigma that many women and girls continue to face around periods and their bodies.

“Words like ‘personal hygiene’ and ‘sanitary products’ give the impression that periods - which are an entirely natural part of life - are somehow something to hide to yourself, or that they’re unhygienic. They absolutely aren’t, and we can play an important role in helping change that. 

“We want to help normalise the language around periods and continence as well as making products like pads, tampons and menstrual cups much easier to find when our customers are shopping online.

“Young women, in particular, are passionate about reclaiming the language and calling periods exactly what they are. We want to support that by reflecting this in our shopping environments. We’re starting with our online shopping platform, but we’ll also be looking at how we can change things in our stores too,” Kiri says.

This announcement follows Countdown’s work back in 2018 to lower the price of its own brand period products to help address the significant levels of period poverty being experienced by women and girls in New Zealand.  Countdown has also worked closely with charities such as The Salvation Army, KidsCan and brands like U by Kotex to help provide period products for women and girls who are struggling to access them.

Additionally, Countdown has started using the term ‘continence care’ and ‘continence products’ rather than incontinence to help break down the taboos and barriers that customers seeking out these products have too, particularly men.

“There is a whole piece of work going on in this category to make continence products easier to find in our stores.  We want to really understand how we can help de-stigmatise what is again a natural part of life.  

“The more we can help bring these terms into the open, and call them what they are without having to use euphemisms, the better it’s going to be for our customers and future generations,” says Kiri Hannifin.

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