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The right choice

We seek to optimise the use of packaging materials without compromising the quality and food safety of our products.
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Materials and Packaging

We work with our suppliers to develop products and packaging to help reduce the amount of materials used, encourage the use of recycled materials, and ensure the recyclability of our Private Brand and Perishables assortment.

In 2020, the Group reduced its total consumption of materials by 1.9% per million euros in sales.


* per 1 million euros in sales

as at 31/12/2020, compared to the previous year

 Plastic consumption

In 2020, we joined the Portuguese Plastics Pact, the Polish Plastics Pact – through Biedronka – and the design working group of The Consumer Goods Forum’s Plastic Waste Coalition of Action.

Also considering our membership of the New Plastic Economy Global Commitment, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and by 2025, we are committed to:

  • ensuring that 100% of Private Brand plastic packaging is reusable or recyclable;
  • incorporating at least 25% of recycled content in Private Brand plastic packaging;
  • reducing specific plastic consumption by 10%, compared to 2018, measured in tonnes of plastic packaging for every one million euros of turnover.

In 2020, plastic accounted for 31% of total materials used in the four packaging categories: Private Brand packaging, service packaging, check-out bags and wrapping film.

 Single-Use Plastics

In 2020, we reduced the use of single-use plastic in almost all categories, thanks to the Companies’ efforts to anticipate the targets for reducing the consumption of disposable plastics. The exceptions were rubbish bags and wrapping film. The specific consumption of single-use plastics decreased by 9.2% per million euros of sales.

Below are some of the measures we have been implementing to reduce the consumption of single-use plastic:

  • In 2020, we started to use paper straws for the Pingo Doce and Recheio 200ml milk cartons and, in early 2021, we finished replacing the plastic straws with paper straws of our Private Brand 200ml juices sold in Portugal. This change corresponds to a reduction of 15 tonnes of single-use plastic per year.
  • The range of Pingo Doce Private Brand household accessories launched in 2020 now incorporates varying percentages of recycled plastic, thus helping to avoid the consumption of 5.1 tonnes of virgin plastic per year. Also in 2020, Pingo Doce and Recheio started using 100% recycled plastic for their Private Brand rubbish bags. This change reintroduces more than 1,700 tonnes of post-consumer recycled plastic into the economy per year, thus avoiding the consumption of an equivalent amount of virgin plastic.
  • Since 2019, and at Biedronka, we have replaced the plastic straw with a paper one in two Private Brand juices, removed the plastic spoons from a yoghurt and replaced the plastic fork with a wooden one in a ready-to-eat salad. In total, these measures avoid the use of 18 tonnes of disposable plastic per year.
  • Since 2020, the personal hygiene, cosmetic and detergent Private Brand products of Pingo Doce, Recheio and Biedronka do not include microplastics in their ingredients.
  • We replaced, in 2019, the plastic sticks with certified paper sticks in the Private Brand swabs, marketed in Poland and Portugal. In total, around 330 tonnes of plastic were avoided per year.
  • In the personal hygiene wipes commercialised at Biedronka, the plastic fibres were replaced in 2019 by cotton ones. This change has made it possible to avoid the use of around 220 tonnes of plastic per year.

Since 2019, microplastics have been replaced by degradable materials in the formulations of cleaning, laundry care and personal hygiene products sold in Poland and Portugal, avoiding the use of more than four tonnes per year of microplastics.

Paper consumption

We seek not only to use paper from sustainably managed forests, but also to reduce the use of paper.

In 2020, and as a result of the pandemic, we reduced the consumption of total paper used in promotional leaflets in all Companies by 42.7%. Moreover, the paper used in the Pingo Doce and Recheio leaflets and catalogues bears the EU Ecolabel, is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) certified or has Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). The same applies to Biedronka leaflets.

In Portugal, the paper used for printing the banners’ magazines is PEFC or FSC® certified and/or the companies producing it have ISO 14001 certification.

Packaging ecodesign

An efficient sustainability strategy implies changing internal practices and working together with our suppliers to help improve the eco-efficiency of Private Brand packaging. The goal is to reduce our environmental impact and optimise production costs, transportation and waste management.

In 2020, we implemented 148 packaging ecodesign projects (78 at Biedronka, 36 at Pingo Doce, 14 at Hebe, 10 at Recheio and 10 at Ara).

Between 2011 and 2020, we have avoided the use of around 27,500 tonnes of materials and the emission of 4,500 tonnes of CO2 (in transport) by improving the eco-efficiency of the packaging of 534 Private Brand references.

Reusable Packaging

We increasingly seek to reuse materials in our operations. In Portugal, and in 2020, we used 39.1 million reusable plastic boxes for Perishables. In Colombia, we provided reusable transport boxes for bottled water and fruit and vegetables. In Poland, in 2020, we used 27.5 million reusable boxes for bakery products. In total, we avoided the use of more than 35,000 tonnes of disposable packaging.

The plastic bags available at the checkouts of all the Companies are paid for. Since 2007, without waiting for the legal impositions to do so, the Group has progressively adopted this measure, to promote the reuse of the bags by customers.

Since 2018, Pingo Doce, in partnership with the New Water Project, has provided a reusable plastic bottle filling solution. By the end of 2020, the ECO bottle was in 138 stores and allowed to avoid the consumption of 73 tonnes of plastic during the year.

Biedronka and Pingo Doce launched reusable polyester bags for fruit and vegetables in 2020, encouraging consumers to reduce the use of disposable plastic bags.

Bulk Sales

By 2020, more than 80% of Ara shops had bulk sales of rice, sugar, lentils, or beans available. In Poland and Portugal, all Biedronka shops and more than 230 Pingo Doce shops offer bulk dried fruits and sweets.

Independent Verification

Information on the savings in materials as a result of the ecodesign packaging projects and the Group’s plastic footprint was confirmed by an external and independent entity for the Group’s 2020 Annual Report.