BOROUME, Saving Food Saving Lives

BOROUME, Saving Food Saving Lives

No food waste in supermarkets

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Last Update: May 9, 2014

NGO BOROUME facilitates the food saving process of the largest supermarket chain in Greece to nearby welfare organizations & charities as well as municipal social services who help people with food insecurity.

Founded: 2013 Type: citizen sector

The Problem

This project addresses the oxymoron of having supermarkets that daily throw tons of edible food away and people who are suffering from food insecurity at the same time, often even in the same neigborhood. This food waste has a substantial social, environmental (production of methan gas in landfills) and economic impact (wasted resources).

The Solution

NGO BOROUME connects selected supermarket stores which join the program after the company's decision with nearby welfare agencies, charities and municipal social services that help people with food insecurity. The company provides the manual which stores have to follow in order to ensure food quality and the correct procedure for donating the food. The recipient agency has the obligation to collect the saved food on specific hours that suit the store, thus minimizing logistic costs for the company. NGO BOROUME facilitates the creation of these links by providing information regarding suitable recipient organizations and is responsible for any changes regarding these links.


A typical example is the Christodoulio orphanage in the western suburbs of Athens, which has been connected to the local store of AB Vasilopoulos since November 2013. The orphanage is collecting food on a daily basis from the supermarket which is enough to cover one meal of all 34 children housed in the orphanage. The donated food is mainly "ready-to-eat" meals which otherwise would have landed in the garbage. This help reduces the overall food cost of the Christodoulio orphanage, thus giving them the possibility to re-allocate their budget to other important costs, such as heating, repairing infrastructure and even paying for a field trip for the children.


The impact of the work varies a lot due to the differences in size of the supermarket stores but also due to the fact that the goods that are suited for donation vary a lot (there can be no prediction of damaged packages for example). From the 13 stores that are already connected with recipient organizations the donated goods vary from 200 to 1500 meals per month / organization. The future impact looks very promising since only this particular supermarket chain has right now over 260 stores all over Greece and just 13 are on board now. In the coming weeks this number will be increased to 30 supermarket stores. Apart from the above, the fact that one of the leading supermarket chains of the country has released a press release in DEC2013 about this action means that many other chains could follow.

Full Impact Potential

The desired impact of the idea is to connect as many supermarket stores as possible with nearby recipient organizations. The project already has spread in 2 other cities, apart from Athens. Just AB Vasilopoulos has over 260 stores all over Greece which means that the geographic spread will include the whole country. Having surpassed many legal obstacles the company have succeded in finding the way to save as much food as possible and offer it to people in need. This can and will be used as an important tool in our effort to advocate a substantial change in the existing legal framework.

Financial Sources

Foundations, NGO, Businesses

Sustainability Plan

This project requires little budget because the main investment in human resources has been made already. The connection, follow-up with recipient organizations and any changes in the existing partnerships are being handled by BOROUME, which is in the position to cope with this workload with its existing human resources. The cost of training new personnel at every new store that is included is relatively small.


To our knowledge there is no similar project in Greece running at this point.

Founding Story

The "Aha!" moment of the initial founder Ms. Xenia Papastavrou was when she realized, during a restaurant visit with her family, how much food would be thrown in the garbage from their left-overs. From this moment in May 2011, BOROUME, which means "we can", has offered over 1 million meals to people in need, the vast majority of which saved food. In just a short period of time BOROUME has become the reference point about food waste in Greece and continues to raise awareness about this issue every day.

Team Explanation

BOROUME has 3 founding members who have the overall strategic leadership regarding this project and also another 2 full-time and 1 part-time employee who play an ad hoc role regarding the connection of new stores with recipient agencies and carrying out the follow-up report with every recipient. The realization of this project only takes up a small percentage of daily available working hours of our team.


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