UK consumers are throwing away £3 billion worth of eatable fruit and vegetables away per year, according to new research.
As part of its Love Food Hate Waste campaign, the Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has found that people throw out 5.1 million whole potatoes each year, followed by 4.4 million apples and 1.6 million bananas.
WRAP has been working with supermarket giant Sainsburys, to find out why consumers are wasting fresh produce and what can be done about it. The study shows that the main reason why consumers throw food away is because they do not eat it before it goes off and do not store fruit and vegetables in the best place once we bring it home from the shops.
WRAPs new research shows that by storing fresh fruit and vegetables inside the fridge the food will stay fresher for longer.
Chief executive Liz Goodwin said: These dramatic figures show that although we are all keen to do the right thing buying plenty of fruit and vegetables, the benefit is clearly lost when good gets thrown out.
Sainsburys is trialling new storage guidance to customers both in store and on its website. Findings from the research will be shared with all retailers.
In light of this research Sainsburys are advising shoppers to store their loose fruit and vegetables in the fridge, said Sainsburys head of brand policy and sustainability Alison Austin.
We are tackling the task in two ways: showing shoppers how to keep their food fresh for longer, and then inspiring them to use it in lots of different ways.
Following the research findings the Liberal Democrat Party have called on the Government to act against food waste. Environment spokesman Martin Horwood said: Reducing the amount of food that gets thrown away is vital in fighting our culture of waste. Local authorities must also improve collection of compost waste, and the Government needs to support households and businesses who want to recycle food waste themselves.
Its outrageous that the Government is cutting the budget of WRAP by more than 25%. It is difficult to understand how we are expected to tackle food waste issues when the Government is slashing the budget of the very organisation that is meant to be tackling it.
Image: WRAP food waste image.Sign reads: 'We throw away 4 millon apples every day'.