25 October 2023: In a bid to make healthier choices easier for customers and combat “pester power” at the checkout, Woolworths New Zealand is rolling out healthier checkouts across all its supermarkets, starting from today.

80 percent of food items at checkouts will carry a Health Star Rating (HSR) of 3.5 or above, with the remaining checkout space undefined by HSR, and kids confectionery will also be removed from checkouts across Woolworths supermarkets nationwide.

The change is a New Zealand first and forms part of the retailer’s commitment to delivering the best supermarket experiences as it becomes Woolworths New Zealand. It follows a similar move by Woolworths Australia in June this year.

While treats and snacks will still be available for customers to choose, Woolworths NZ nutritionist and registered dietitian, Deb Sue, says the supermarket is giving shoppers a helping hand to make healthier choices at the checkout.

“We want to give all New Zealanders healthier snack options to choose from at the checkout which is why you’ll find a selection that’s focused on higher Health Star Ratings. We’re certainly not telling anyone what they should be putting in their trolley, but by upping healthier options and moving less healthy choices into aisles, hopefully it makes it that little bit easier .” 

In addition to increasing healthy options for Kiwis at checkouts, Woolworths will also be removing all child-targeted confectionery from checkouts.

“Our hope is that removing products targeted at kids at the checkout will be a welcome change for parents and caregivers and means they don’t need to deal with the end of shop negotiations from their little ones.

“Even better, with our Free Fruit for Kids bins at the front of every produce section, they can fill our smallest customers up on free fruit at the front of the supermarket, and now know they won’t be faced with a squabble at the checkout.

“It’s all part of our commitment to making healthier easier for Kiwis,” says Deb.

The Government's health star rating system is a voluntary scale, from 0.5 to 5 stars, informing consumers how similar products compare within categories. Research conducted by Colmar Brunton found shoppers recognise and use the health star rating when buying packaged food.

Research undertaken by Woolworths Australia found almost one in three shoppers mostly or always use the health star rating to choose between products in store.

Woolworths’ Free Fruit For Kids bins at the front of every produce section have handed out pieces of fruit to Kiwi kids since 2015. The supermarket’s commitment to healthier lifestyles for Kiwis is store-wide, with the restriction on sale of energy drinks to under 16 year olds.

Customers can expect to see the changes in the coming months. All Woolworths stores will continue to have a number of entirely confectionery-free checkouts and non-food checkouts.