Around a third of food grown for human consumption in the UK is thrown away, according to the BBC.

Its 'Costing the Earth,' programme found that changes in people's habits and scares over food safety are helping wastage to increase by 15% every decade. According to government and food industry studies each adult wastes food worth £420 (US$793) each year.

The government adviser on food and farming, Lord Haskins, said the figures were outrageous. BBC rural affairs correspondent Tom Heap said demands for "pristine looking" produce means a lot of food does not make the grade and never leaves the farm gate.

People are eating out more, and the catering industry throws away one third of all they buy, he said.

A lack of time or knowledge to use up leftovers is also to blame for increasing food wastage. Observers say scares over food safety means people bin food too readily, the BBC said.