MPs have called on the government to co-ordinate a national approach to save and redistribute surplus food.
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA) has said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs should “lead a joined-up national approach that saves and redistributes surplus food from all parts of the supply chain”.
In a report EFRA also calls for the creation of a food security co-ordinator, who would be responsible for “bringing together key agencies to develop effective systems to distribute far greater volumes of food that would otherwise go to waste”.
Anne McIntosh, committee chairman and Conservative MP, said: “The work of charities and supermarkets to redistribute surplus food via foodbanks is commendable but the amount redistributed is pitifully small compared to the amount of good food that currently goes to waste.
“Nine million tonnes of avoidable food waste goes into bins each year, yet a considerable proportion is fit for consumption when it is discarded: this level of waste is unacceptable economically, socially and environmentally.”
The report said nine million tonnes of the UK’s annual 15 million tonnes of food waste “could have been eaten at some point”.
MPs also said the food industry and retailers should provide more information to “help consumers buy food from sustainable sources” and encourage them to buy British.
"With the impacts of climate change and rising world populations putting increasing pressure on food supplies, ensuring everyone can access affordable, healthy food presents a growing challenge for the UK,” said McIntosh.
“The myriad choices millions of people make every day on what food to buy and from where to buy it must be harnessed to support national food policy goals, not through increased regulation but through better information from retailers and central and local government.”