Delivering a world-first for supermarkets, Countdown will now be calling products such as pads, tampons, and menstrual cups for exactly what they are, period products. Previously categorised as ‘personal care and sanitary’ and ‘incontinence’ products, Countdown’s new category ‘Period and Continence Care’ aims to remove the stigma of periods and incontinence being something to hide.
Products previously labeled as ‘intimate hygiene’ will also be categorised as ‘genital washes and wipes.’
General manager of corporate affairs, Kiri Hannifin, says the initiative is a step towards normalising the language around periods and continence, while also making products much easier to find when customers are shopping online.
“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.
“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.”
The announcement follows Countdown’s work in 2018 which saw the price of its own brand period products lowered, to help address the high levels of period poverty in New Zealand. The supermarket chain has also worked alongside charities like The Salvation Army, KidsCan and brands like U by Kotex to help provide period products to those who are struggling to access them.
Countdown’s new categories ‘continence care’ and ‘continence products’ which replace the term ‘incontinence’ are to help break down the taboos and barriers around customers seeking out these products, particularly for 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,” says Hannifin.
“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.”