- 3 updates
Produce grown in the UK that does not meet retailer standards on size or shape or is blemished is often used for animal feed or simply ploughed back into the ground even though it is edible, with as much as 40 per cent of a crop rejected.
The report, commissioned by the UK's global food security programme, also showed that the average household throws away more than 5kg (11lb) of food per week, and nearly two-thirds of that is avoidable.
The waste costs £480 a year per household on average, and £680 per family. Households throw away a fifth of the food they buy, wasting it for reasons ranging from cooking and preparing too much to not using it before it goes off, the study showed.
Nearly 500,000 people in the UK needed support from food banks last year, according to figures from the Trussel Trust.
Juliet Mountford, head of UK service development, said the Red Cross agreed to assist FareShare on the basis of "strong evidence of an increased need for support on food poverty issues".
As reported in The Independent, last month a report shed light on the chronic throw-away culture affecting the food industry, where up to two-fifths of a crop of fruit or vegetables can be wasted because it is "ugly".
Hard-up families could be forced to turn to the British Red Cross for help this winter for the first time in nearly 70 years, as thousands face crippling cuts to their household budgets.
The British Red Cross said it is about to launch a campaign in supermarket foyers asking shoppers to donate food which is then distributed to the most needy through the charity FareShare.
The hike in basic food prices and soaring utility bills has put a further squeeze on UK families, with more than five million people living in deep poverty.