£13.7bn price tag for uneaten food
The cost of buying and throwing away food and drink reached £13.7 billion last year, according to research.
The Local Government Association (LGA) analysis, which combined the price of food which was not eaten with the cost to council taxpayers of sending it to landfill, revealed that households paid an estimated £520 each for uneaten food over the past 12 months.
Clyde Loakes, LGA environment board vice-chairman, said: "That is a heart-breaking figure in a world where hundreds of millions of people go hungry every day.
"With more than five million tonnes of edible food thrown out each year, way too much food is being brought into homes in the first place. Retailers need to take a large slice of responsibility for that."
The LGA is calling on retailers to make a serious effort to reduce the amount of food waste discarded from people's home by changing the way they promote the sale of foods such as fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat.
Town hall leaders want to see multi-buy deals, which encourage people to take more food than they need, replaced by discounts on individual products.
Retailers are now being called on to set more ambitious waste reduction goals to catch up with the big improvements in waste management shown by local authorities and residents.
Manufacturers and retailers claim that they have prevented 670,000 tonnes of food waste since entering a voluntary commitment to tackle waste in 2005. But the total amount of packaging waste being produced each year since 2005 has remained the same.
In that same time, councils and residents have reduced annual landfill by more than seven million tonnes, and almost doubled the recycling rate from 22% of all household waste to nearly 40%.
Despite those achievements, local authorities will still pay more than £550 million in landfill tax this financial year as they put more than 10 million tonnes of waste in the ground.