Continente challenged five apple producers from Alcobaça to develop a product that uses the small, or ‘ugly’, fruit, which is not commercially valued. The result was the ‘Continente Seleção Alcobaça Apple Cider Vinegar’, produced from fresh apple juice, with the PGI certification seal. This vinegar’s first batch allowed avoiding wasting 50 tonnes of fruit and producing 30,000 litters of vinegar.

Continente Seleção’s Alcobaça Apple Cider Vinegar is produced by blending selected apple varieties, including ‘Casa Nova’, ‘Golden Delicious’, ‘Red Delicious’, ‘Royal Gala’, ‘Fuji’, ‘Granny Smith’, ‘Jonagold’, ‘Reineta’ and ‘Pink’, which gives the vinegar a unique identity and flavour.

Ondina Afonso, Continente Producers Club’s President, explains, “The project began through an initiative by the Continente Producers Club, the ‘Waste Fair’, which is aimed at producers, promoting some products’ appreciation, such as those that the end customers do not value, nor do they want to buy, such as fruit that is too small or defective. We brought the Alcobaça’s Apple producers - Narcfrutas, Cooperfrutas, Frutalvor, Campotec and Lusofruta - together with our industrial partner, Mendes & Gonçalves, and, thus, the proposal of a unique and certified Apple Vinegar was born”.

We already have a very old partnership with MC, for supplying apples from Alcobaça, and this project arises from the joint work of several producers as a way of solving the problem of apples that would result in food waste. Alcobaça Apple Vinegar is a way of helping the planet, adding value to these apples, by turning them into a product”, says Jorge Soares, Campotec Administrator.

Continente has been developing other initiatives that prevent tonnes of food being wasted, while offering products that preserve excellent consumption conditions, at a more accessible price for the consumer. Examples are the devaluation of the RRP on products that are close to reaching their expiry date, being identified with pink labels, and the establishment of partnerships with ‘Too Good to Go’, for instance, through which customers can access a basket of products, the ‘Magic Box’, at 1/3 of the usual sale price.

Another example is the Zer0% Waste boxes, through which Continente offers 5kg baskets of fruit and vegetables that are close to exceeding the optimum consumption point, on sale for just €0.50/kg.

Continente also transforms PGI apples and pears’ production surplus into dehydrated fruit snacks, or natural juices, which only contain squeezed fruit, without any added sugar or water.

The reuse and redistribution of food that preserves excellent consumption conditions, through donations of food surpluses to social solidarity and animal support institutions, is part of the stores’ daily activities. Daily donations to institutions have been made for more than 27 years, throughout the year, from the more than 300 Continente stores, from north to south of the mainland and islands.






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