Britons throw away 4.4 million whole apples every day, almost a third of all those bought, according to new figures.
UK households throw out 6.7 million tonnes of food each year, most of which could have been eaten, the government’s waste advisory body, the Waste and Resources Action Programme (Wrap), found.
This represents a third of all food bought for consumption at home and is worth a total of £8 billion, or an average £400 for every household.
Fruit and vegetables make up 40% of the discarded food.
Besides apples, households are also dumping 5.1 million potatoes a day, 2.8 million tomatoes, 1.6 million bananas, and 1.2 million oranges. These were not scraps or peelings but whole items in good condition.
The study found food was usually thrown out because it had gone off, but suggested households were not storing produce properly.
Consumers are being urged to buy less food and to keep most fresh fruit and vegetables in the fridge.
Wrap Chief Executive Dr Liz Goodwin said: ‘These dramatic figures show that although we are all keen to do the right thing buying plenty of fruit and vegetables, the benefit is clearly being lost when food gets thrown out untouched.’
Apples will last up to ten days at room temperature
Adrian Barlow, spokesman for English Apples and Pears, said: ‘It’s reprehensible. There shouldn’t be this scale of wastage.
‘I am surprised by the numbers because apples are not that sensitive. They will last up to ten days in room temperature, though admittedly their shelf life extends to two weeks if apples are kept chilled.
‘Most bags are already labelled with information for consumers to store apples in the fridge. This retains their eating quality over a longer period and ensures the fruit does not go soft.
‘I also suggest that people should buy apples in smaller quantities. You don’t need to buy a bag because you can buy apples loose everywhere.’