‘Refill Spot by Continente’ is a new space, inaugurated in Continente stores, that features automated bulk sales and self-service, which allows customers to reuse packaging when purchasing a set of products (detergents, dry foods and food for cats and dogs) and promote packaging savings and circularity.

This initiative takes a central place in Continente’s Sustainability agenda because it will make it possible to test, in a real environment and at scale, a complementary approach to single-use packaging. Having very significant impacts on the entire value chain, from producers to consumers, this initiative will make it possible to properly assess the economic, environmental and operational impacts of this new marketing model for some products.

Continente Matosinhos and Continente Colombo were the stores chosen to carry out this pilot project, having the refill equipment located next to the areas of the respective categories of products sold in bulk, in a convenient, innovative and easily accessible environment.

Detergent refills are available in 6 ecological and biodegradable product references, some of which are Ecolabel certified, under the ‘Greendet’ brand: detergents and fabric softener, multipurpose detergent, multipurpose WC detergent and manual dishwashing detergent. At this refill station, customers can bring their own packaging, only paying for the product they intend to buy. Customers can also purchase, in store, 1L packages, 100% recyclable, and use them in future refills.

Food refill is based on a solution developed by the technology company ‘MIWA’, which ensures product control and traceability throughout the entire supply chain. The equipment includes products such as Nuts, Organic food and Pet Food from the Continente brand. These products can be dispensed into “Smart Cups”, in reusable packaging, equipped with an NFC tag that communicates with the dispenser and stores information about the packaging and the product being purchased. There are 3 “Smart Cups” capacities – 350 ml, 750 ml and 1,000 ml. Customers can also bring their own packaging.

“Refill Spot by Continente” is an opportunity for us to test the operating models associated with a circular process for primary and secondary packaging, while ensuring a convenient and agile shopping experience.”, says Ricardo Santos, Matosinhos’ Continente Director.

“We have customers asking us to expand the wide range that we already have available for sale in bulk. With these innovative solutions, we managed to reconcile customer convenience with the products’ safety and quality standards we demand. We are now going to assess the most important thing, which is our customers’ response.”, says João Maria Gonçalves, Colombo’s Continente Director.

This initiative is part of the action plan developed by MC when subscribing to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Continente was the first Portuguese retailer to assume the commitment to ensure by 2025 that all its packaging would be recyclable, compostable or reusable. Recently, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation once again recognized MC’s performance: With a positive evolution when compared to 2020, MC reinforces its position in the top 3 of world retail, by being one of the retailers with the highest percentage of recyclable packaging, with the highest percentage of recycled plastic incorporation and with a higher percentage of packaging reuse.

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