Zer0 % waste fruit and vegetable box reaches all Continente stores

The Zer0 % waste fruit and vegetable boxes are already on sale in all Continente stores in the country, consisting of 5 kg boxes with fruits and vegetables, which are nearing the end of their commercial value, but still in perfect condition for consumption, for € 0.50 per kg.

Fighting food waste is this project’s goal, which started at the end of 2019 in some Continente stores, and which, due to good consumer receptivity, is now extended to all - more than 300 - Continente, Continente Modelo and Continente Bom Dia stores of the country (mainland and Madeira).

The fruits and vegetables on the Zer0 % waste (Zer0% Desperdício) boxes, sold in the fresh produce area of Continente stores, are carefully selected by store employees who 'redeem' only those products that continue to meet the brand’s quality and freshness standards, but which are about to lose their commercial value for aesthetic reasons, for instance, and each box’s content is listed on the outside of the box. Thus, the boxes are offered for sale depending on the stock availability of each store.

“Since November 2019 - when we started the pilot project - we have ‘saved’more than 40,000 kg of fruits and vegetables. This project’s goal is to avoid wasting 1,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per year, which means selling 200 thousand boxes per year”, explains Pedro Lago, Director of Sustainability and Circular Economy Projects at Sonae MC.

“Our goal as a retailer, which plays a key role in fighting food waste, is undoubtedly to achieve '0 (zero) waste', that is, to avoid wasting any food that is in good condition to be consumed. This box allows us to avoid tonnes of food waste, at the same time that we offer products that preserve excellent consumption conditions, at a friendlier price for the customer” says Pedro Lago.

In addition to this box, the brand is taking advantage of the waste generated in the production of PGI apples and pears by turning them into dehydrated fruit snacks, for sale for € 0.69 each 20g package, and also through natural juices made only from these squeezed fruits, without any added sugar or water, such as the 1.5 litre 100% Alcobaça apple juice for 2.99 €.

Also, in order to avoid breakages and contribute to a more sustainable planet, Continente stores donate their daily food surpluses to social solidarity and animal support institutions. In 2019, surpluses corresponding to 12 million euros were donated to more than 1,013 institutions across the country.

Another strategy to fight food waste, implemented over 10 years ago in Continente stores, is the use of pink labels (smart depreciation labels). These labels notify the customer of a price reduction on products that are nearing expiration date. This system represents advantages for all involved parties, since it avoids waste and simultaneously offers an economic benefit to the customer.

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