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Feathers Fly In NZ Duvet Industry


Dunedin Bedding Firm Supports Today’s Commerce Commission Investigation, But Calls For Tougher Action With Fill Weight

Dunedin, 12 August 2004: A small Dunedin bedding firm, Novadown, has its ducks in a row this winter promising New Zealanders the warmest down duvets in the country.

In response to today’s Commerce Commission warning to traders making ambiguous claims about the composition of their products, Novadown has come out supporting the Commission saying it helps retailers and consumers make informed decisions. However, Novadown wants it to become mandatory for the feather and down industry to label products with fill weights.

Managing Director of Novadown, Glenn Alexander says when you buy a wool duvet you know its weight, but with feather and down products this isn’t a requirement, which isn’t in the interest of the consumer. “This winter has been too cold for people not to have the warmest duvets,” he says.

The Commission has just completed an investigation into the industry following a complaint alleging significant differences between down content labelling and actual down content of individual duvets. The Commission was concerned about misrepresentations made by traders about the composition of products and the misuse of absolute claims as 100 percent.

Alexander says consumers are not aware of the various feather and down industry standards and logically assume the labelling of 100 percent down contents in duvets and pillows means there is 100 percent down in the products.

“This isn’t the case, because in New Zealand there are no standards just the Voluntary AS2479, which requires a minimum down fill of 85 percent to be allowed a labelling of 100 percent.

“The problem is further complicated because some in the industry comply with the old and now defunct American FTC standard that allows products with 70 percent down to be labelled as containing 100 percent down,” says Alexander.

Alexander agrees that the industry specifications need to be changed to reflect the correct contents.

“In the future there will be no such thing as 100 percent down labelled products, this is because down and feather live naturally together and it is impossible to separate the two completely unless you do this by hand. However, it is possible to have a down content in the 90 percent range and Novadown currently exceeds this,” he says.

Novadown contains the highest fill power, which indicates larger, stronger clusters of down, providing excellent insulation. These dense clusters have longer fibres, allowing them to hold their shape longer, which is important considering we spend one third of our lives sleeping.


In 2002 Feather & Down Enterprises was purchased by Novadown. Since the acquisition, Novadown has re-positioned itself in the market introducing a range of high quality feather and down products that now lead the market.

Novadown has a reputation of excellence in design and high quality workmanship. The European Collection utilises goose down from Hungary. Grown from mature, free range geese farmed especially for their down and chosen for their larger plume creating high loft and filling power.

Novadown products are tested at the world renowned International Down and Feather Institute at Salt Lake City, USA.


DOWN refers to the undercoating of waterfowl, including goose, duck or swan, consisting of light fluffy filaments (barbs) growing from a quill point but without a quill shaft. Goose down is larger, yet lighter than duck down making it the down of preference. Down is soft and three-dimensional, used to hold air at high altitudes and low temperatures with a minimum of weight.

FEATHER refers to the external horny structure that forms the body covering of birds and consists of a quill point, quill shaft and vanes, with or without an aftershaft. Duck or Goose feathers are hard and heavy and are used for flying and swimming.


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