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Countdown Announces Plans For New $99m Christchurch Fresh Distribution Centre

30 May 2022: Countdown has today announced plans for a new, $99m, state-of-the-art fresh distribution centre in Rolleston, Canterbury. The 11,000sqm development will service stores across the South Island and transform how Countdown moves fresh produce from local growers to its customers.

Countdown’s Director of Property, Matt Grainger says that the investment in the new temperature-controlled Christchurch Fresh Distribution Centre is critical to ensuring South Island customers see superior, locally-grown produce on shelves that’s as fresh as it was when it left the orchard, farm or packhouse.

“The quality of the fruit and vegetables available in our stores is hugely important to our customers and likewise, our passionate growers across Aotearoa work hard to produce excellent, nutritious food for Kiwis. It’s our job to bring them together.

“With this purpose-built development, we’re investing in new technology and cutting-edge design to streamline the supply chain. Our growers can take pride in what Kiwis see on the shelves with their produce arriving to store exactly how they intended,” says Matt.

Cool chain integrity has been the driving factor of the new distribution centre’s design with produce arriving on cooled trucks into a refrigerated inbound tunnel before being quickly moved into one of the varied temperature-controlled zones or ripening rooms.

More refrigerated trucks will mean fruit and vegetables are kept at the right temperature at every point through the supply chain to stores across the South Island.

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Matt explains that this process won’t just give customers the benefit of fresher produce, it will also dramatically cut down spoilage and prevent produce from going to waste.

“Food waste is a massive issue in New Zealand and while we can all make changes at a household level, Countdown has the opportunity to make a difference on a much larger scale by optimising our processes and equipment right across the supply chain,” says Matt.

“Our customers will get incredible locally-grown produce and we’re a step closer in our mission to reduce Countdown’s impact on the environment.”

The new facility itself will also be kinder to the planet with solar power, rainwater harvesting and low energy-use condensers throughout. The build has been designed to strict Green Star standards in keeping with Countdown’s goal of all new buildings receiving a 4 Green Star rating or higher, which will be raised to a 5 Green Star rating on all new builds by 2025.

“The development of the Christchurch Fresh Distribution Centre is a huge step towards our climate goals, not only through environmentally-friendly design but by investing in a more streamlined supply chain from grower to store resulting in fewer transport emissions,” says Matt.

“We are committed to building a business that is low carbon and invests in a circular economy, and we can do it without compromising on quality for our customers”

The Christchurch Fresh Distribution Centre is expected to open in early 2024 and Countdown will be recruiting a passionate team of 55 to become fresh produce experts.

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