As an emerging issue, which causes several problems, such as environmental and social issues, some companies are already starting to take advantage of waste to help those who cannot afford to buy food, in the most diverse places. Thus, restaurants and supermarkets are gradually beginning to work with associations that reduce the impact of food waste in the country.


Refood, in Portugal, has been operating for over a decade and, throughout the country, takes advantage of food that cannot be used by the most diverse establishments, to donate to those who need it most. Hunter Halder, told The Portugal News, that the idea of ​​creating Refood came after a dinner with his daughters, where they realised that there were no alternatives for the owners to take advantage of food waste, other than putting it in the trash. Currently, “6,093 volunteers” work, on average for two hours a week.

Volunteers collect food from Refood partners in their areas, such as restaurants or supermarkets, and then take it to “the operations centre”, where food is prepared, as well as baskets are made, according to the needs of families that benefit from Refood support. In total, the association already has 62 Refood branches, one of which is based in Madrid, Spain.

As time passes, the value of distributed meals increases. If in the first half of Refood, Hunter Halder alone distributed “a thousand meals a month”, in 2021 the number exceeded two million meals distributed over 12 months. According to the association's founder, “every year” productivity doubles. However, Hunter Halder highlights the environmental impact of the company's work, as the distributed meals will not pollute the environment, reducing “the entry of a thousand tonnes of garbage” in organic waste from the most diverse places in the country.

But more than the numbers presented, Hunter Halder highlights the social and qualitative nature of the work as being the most important. According to the founder of Refood, for a family with few possibilities to acquire food, it allows them to “stop worrying about it and solve other family matters”. The same happens with the volunteers who will feel fulfilled after realising that they are part of a project that appeals above all to solidarity.

Working with partners

Refood's work would not have been possible if there were no interested partners, such as the Apolónia supermarket chain.

Apolónia told The Portugal News that they work with Refood, alongside a partnership between Lagoa City Hall and Refood. Apolónia Supermarkets revealed that they deal with possible food waste by donating it to other associations, such as Banco Alimentar.

A source linked to the supermarket chain assured The Portugal News that “in each store, there is an entity in the area of ​​influence of the store and the Banco Alimentar, which is common to the three stores”. For this purpose, products that are “adequate to be consumed” but “no longer meet the requirements to be sold” are donated, according to the company's standards which are given to associations. According to data provided to The Portugal News, the Apolónia supermarket chain donated “more than 62 tonnes” of food to “various institutions in the Algarve”. The donated products are carefully selected and, after considering all precautions such as “not breaking the cold chain, when applicable”, they are then transported by the associations the company works with.

Besides working with associations that give food to families in need, the Algarve supermarket chain also donates bones and fish heads to animal associations, so that all possible waste may have a better destination, instead of going instantly to the garbage, thus having been also an eco-friendly measure.

Reducing waste

Apolónia has gradually improved the conditions to take advantage of possible food waste, creating storage conditions so that the products can continue in full quality for consumption. With all the other internal policies, at the three stores that compose the Apolónia supermarket chain: Almancil, Galé and Lagoa, it became possible not only to reduce waste but also to increase support for associations, showing better results as the years go by. The training of the employees is also important to the company, who train all new employees as soon as they start to work for the company. According to Apolónia, “conscious workers” will be the “greatest allies” when it comes to avoiding food waste if they are educated on the topic.

However, the responsibility to fight against food waste is not just up to companies, as ordinary citizens can also do their part. Food waste is a social and environmental problem that can be solved by donating products that would otherwise end up in the trash.


Deeply in love with music and with a guilty pleasure in criminal cases, Bruno G. Santos decided to study Journalism and Communication, hoping to combine both passions into writing. The journalist is also a passionate traveller who likes to write about other cultures and discover the various hidden gems from Portugal and the world. Press card: 8463. 

Bruno G. Santos