Continente joins the movement “United Against Waste”

Missão Continente joined the national civic movement "United Against Waste", created this year to draw attention to the food waste problem. The manifesto reads that the movement “wants to make customary the use of surpluses, to alert to losses and wastes, to encourage and facilitate the donation of leftovers and to promote responsible consumption”, since more than 1/3 of all food produced in the world end up in the trash, and in Portugal alone, there are a million tonnes of food that never gets consumed.

“Fighting waste is one of Continente's top priorities. All the purchase, procurement and operation processes of stores and warehouses are designed with a view to preventing breakages. Continente, as a leader in food retail in Portugal, has actively taken on the responsibility of influencing the entire value chain in this movement, from the producer to the consumer, so our adhesion, through Missão Continente, had to happen ”, explains Pedro Lago, director of sustainability and circular economy projects at Sonae MC.

Isabel Jonet, President of the Portuguese Federation of Food Banks Against Hunger, one of the founding entities of the Movement, warns that “food waste should be one of the top priorities of countries, companies and consumers. We need to sensitize society, globally, to this problem, through instruments and information, so that we can reverse the current food waste scenario. ”

The reuse and redistribution of food goods, through donations of food surpluses, to social solidarity institutions and animal support associations, is part of the daily routine of Continente stores. In 2019, Missão Continente reused a total of 12.3 million euros in food surpluses, of which 8.5 million were donated to 1,013 social solidarity institutions and animal support associations throughout the country and the rest made available to employees, in the stores and warehouses’ social areas.

Another strategy in fighting food waste, implemented more than 10 years ago in Continente stores, is the use of pink labels, which communicate a price reduction on products that are nearing expiration date. This system avoids waste and at the same time offers an economic benefit to the customer.

Also with the aim of preventing breakage, Continente has developed 5kg boxes with fruits and vegetables that are close to exceeding the optimum consumption point, for sale for just € 0.50 / kg. These Zer0% Waste Boxes are currently available in 49 stores, but will soon reach the remaining more than 300 stores, avoiding the waste of more than 25 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per year.

In the case of surpluses that effectively lose their commercial value, Continente has been promoting their transformation, with the aim of giving them a second life, adding value, as is the case with sweets and chutneys: Continente was the first national retailer to use surplus products from their stores to make these products, in 2017. Orange, Tropical Fruits, Banana, Tomato Jam, Pumpkin Jam with Walnuts and Onion Chutney are the flavours that are part of Continente’s circular economy sweets & chutneys range, produced from fresh surpluses and 100% healthy.

The movement "United Against Waste" was born on the "World Awareness Day for Food Losses and Waste". Throughout the year, and with the support of its founders (AHRESP, APED, APLOG, Lisbon European Green Capital 2020, CAP, CIP, CNCDA, Zero Waste, FPBA and Refood), the movement has planned a set of actions to impact and make society aware of the importance of the topic.

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