Easter is still two months away - but Kiwis have already tucked into 1 million hot cross buns in 2017.

Countdown supermarkets report the sultana and currant delicacies have been flying off the shelves across the country.

Chris Fisher, general manager of merchandise, said as soon as customers have finished with their Christmas mince pies and pavlovas, they are already thinking about Easter.

"Last year we sold thousands of packs of hot cross buns in January alone and sales figures to date this year show that more than 1 million individual buns have already been bought and eaten," he said.


This year, Countdown has launched a new range of hot cross buns.

"As well as the traditional current and sultana buns we sell fruitless buns, Hershey's chocolate buns and a hot cross loaf," Fisher said. " We have also introduced two new flavours: apple and spice, and chocolate and orange hot cross buns.

"Sales so far indicate Kiwis love them."

Countdown's bakers have their mixing bowls churning through the day making hundreds of thousands of dough mixtures leading into Easter.

The supermarket chain also runs an annual challenge for its in-store bakeries, with teams vying for the title of 'Hot Cross Bun Bakery of The Year.'

The 184 Countdown stores across New Zealand submit their best buns to a panel of experts for judging.

"We have made a special effort to source ingredients from local suppliers and are ordering more than 600,000kg of South Island grown and milled flour, which makes us one of the largest hot cross bun producers in New Zealand using Kiwi grown wheat," Fisher added.