Countdown to freeze price of over 500 essentials for winter

Source: 1News

From Monday, the price of more than 500 essentials at Countdown will remain the same through winter.

Customers will find the price on staples such as tinned tomatoes, butter, cheese, sugar, flour and some vegetables won't go up despite what happens with inflation over the winter months.

The move comes amid a cost of living crisis and with inflation at 6.9%, its highest rate since 1990.

Countdown's managing director Spencer Sonn said it was freezing prices despite having nearly 1000 requests in the last 10 months from its suppliers to increase costs due to the higher fuel, raw material and freight costs they are facing.

"There are so many factors impacting food prices at the moment and every week we're working with suppliers to help offset cost increases as much as possible so that our customers aren't impacted. But the reality is that we are all impacted by the current environment," Sonn said.

Read more: Shopper finds ordering groceries from Aus cheaper than NZ supermarket

Health expert Niki Bezzant said of the items, 19 were alcoholic drinks, 37 snacks and sweet, 22 biscuits and 30 dessert items.

There were few fresh fruit, vegetables and meat products.

“It’s a real shame not to see more fresh whole foods there," she told Stuff.

"These are foods that should be the bulk of what we eat, and are also some of the ones people are finding are getting more and more expensive.”

While having canned vegetables was a positive, Bezzant said, it would have been good for more frozen goods and meat and fish added.

Countdown told Stuff fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy were susceptible to price fluctuations.

In March, a Commerce Commission investigation found competition in the supermarket sector, which is dominated by two big players, isn't working well for consumers.

Currently, Foodstuffs and Woolworths have a combined 90 per cent share of the market for Kiwis' main food shop.