A report has found that retailers can reject up to 40 per cent of edible produce because it isn’t good looking enough.
The size, shape and blemish criteria of fruit and vegetables used by supermarkets means that a huge amount of edible, but ugly, produce is either redirected to animal feed or ploughed back into the ground.
This is according to a study Food Waste Within Global Systems by the UK’s Global Food Security (GFS) programme.
It also discovered that on average households amass over 5kg total food waste every week with nearly two thirds being avoidable waste.
This results in an annual food waste cost of £480 per household and £680 per family.
Global food security champion Professor Tim Benton said: “Over five million people in the UK live in deep poverty, where basic food provision is a daily challenge.
“Nearly 400,000 people needed support from foodbanks last year according to the Trussel Trust.
“At the same time, 15 million tonnes of food is wasted annually, with nearly half discarded within UK households. Reducing the scale of losses and waste throughout the entire food system is a crucial step towards improving global food security.”
The report provides an assessment of the issues around food waste and losses in developing and developed countries and suggests a number of potential future research priorities across the food supply chain and at home.
Professor Benton added: “New approaches and new research will be instrumental in reducing waste, such as smarter packaging for retailers, improved understanding of consumer behaviour, and better weather prediction that will reduce waste at harvest.
“This report will enable research funders to identify the key challenges that need to be met to reduce food waste.”
View the full report at http://www.foodsecurity.ac.uk/assets/pdfs/food-waste-report.pdf