Food worth 1bn is wasted in the UK every year before it even reaches our fridges, according to figures obtained by Sky News.
Damage, flawed appearance and the cost of recycling are just some of the justifications used for throwing food away.
Food growers, producers and retailers together bin an average of 400,000 tons annually, or more than 950 million meals.
For the first time, Britain’s biggest food retailer, Tesco, is expected to publish the amount of food wasted each year within its own UK operations.
The figures will show that more than 50,000 tons – about 1% of all products – gets thrown out.
Matt Simister, Commercial Director, Group Food at Tesco, said: “It really does impact a family’s budget.
“What we’re saying is that we acknowledge that we have a role to play in helping mums to save more money in the household.
“We can reduce the wastage in our own operations, but I think more importantly, we can start to influence the wastage that happens across the whole system.”
Families throw away around six meals a week.
Over a year, that can cost up to 700, according to the latest figures from the UK’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap) published in November.
So when you add in what is wasted by consumers too, the total value of is closer to 13.5bn.
At private distribution centres, Tesco says it is trying to reduce the tonnage of edible waste.
Food that is perfectly usable, but unsuitable for store shelves, gets packed up and sent out to charities that feed the hungry.
Even if the economic recovery does ease the pinch on family budgets this year, the cost of some basic foods will continue to rise, according to market experts.
Joe Rundle, a trader at ETX Capital, said: “Corn, coffee meat ? everything is going to go up considerably.
“In the short term there are seasonal factors and environmental issues that have caused the spike.”
Brazil, a large coffee producer, has experienced drought, and tension between Ukraine and Russia, has prompted a rise in the price of wheat.
“In the long term we are going to see an emerging middle class in the emerging markets that are really going to consume a lot more food and therefore push the price up.”
Mr Rundle added: “That will probably mean that consumers are going to have to change the way they consume food and think about the way they waste it.”
Wrap wants to halve the amount of discarded food by 2025.
Achieving that target should also mean the cost to consumers comes down too.
21 May 2014 | 2:16 am – Source: orange.co.uk