Over half of UK food waste generated by manufacturing and retails sectors is avoidable, a report has found.
Charity Wrap found that of 1.9 million tonnes generated by the retail and manufacture sectors, some 56% was avoidable.
It also found that just 47,000 tonnes of a total of 270,000 tonnes of edible food waste was redistributed in 2015 - that's just 18%.
Most of this food was instead being burnt or used to create energy, the report found.
The report also estimated which sectors of the industry were producing the most avoidable food and drink waste.
Dairy products came in top with 200,000 tonnes, followed by meat, poultry and fish at 160,000.
Wrap said in order to reduce this, three things are required: preventing food waste being generated, redistributing more of it to people, and diverting surplus that isn’t suitable for human consumption to animal feed
If followed, these steps could reduce the 1.1 million tonnes of avoidable food waste at retail and manufacture by 42%.
In turn this could result in a 23% reduction in overall food waste, Wrap found.
By preventing food waste at the source, by 2025 almost £300 million each year could be saved, the charity estimated.
Lindsay Boswell, chief executive of food redistribution charity FareShare, said: “WRAP’s report confirms what FareShare has been saying for some time: that hundreds of thousands of tonnes of good, surplus food could be saved from waste each year, and redistributed to charities to feed vulnerable people.
“While some people may be shocked to hear that so much edible food currently goes to waste, FareShare’s experience suggests that WRAP’s figures are actually understated, and that as much as 400,000 tonnes of good, in date surplus food could be redistributed to feed people each year.
“More than 450 food companies already work in partnership with FareShare to redistribute surplus food to the people who need it most and last year, we redistributed enough surplus food to make 17.7 million meals, which frontline charities served up alongside life-changing support. Yet only about 10,000 tonnes of surplus food is currently redistributed to charities each year, so there’s clearly huge potential to do more.