Strange, isn’t it? At a time when food inflation is at its highest level for almost half a century, and the cost-of-living crisis continues to run riot, why are we all still guilty of creating food waste?

We throw away just short of 10 million tonnes of food each year. That’s about a third of what we joyfully stack into supermarket trolleys, cram into convenience store baskets or pile onto plates.

The great and the good have spent countless hours trying to work out why. They reckon we don’t plan shopping trips and we over-estimate what we need. We're at fault for eating as and when we want and they say we live in a 'throw-away society'.

Guilt-tripping us doesn’t seem to have worked. Media coverage of food wastage has been extensive, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears.

It’s a shame that more coverage isn’t given to the consequences of our willingness to waste. Not only are we discarding a precious resource, we don’t take account of how much environmental damage food waste causes.

When we think about global warming, images of smoke billowing out of factory chimneys, gas-guzzling cars or pollutants from planes spring to mind, but food wastage actually creates more greenhouse gases than any of us would care to think about.

As the food we so casually discard rots in overcrowded landfill sites, it produces methane which is more harmful than carbon dioxide. In fact, food waste accounts for 8-10% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Who is responsible for food waste?

The answer is all of us. Food waste occurs at every level in the supply chain. According to IGD, 36% of food is wasted in manufacturing due to left over ingredients, unsuitable stock and changing demands.

Down the line, food waste costs hospitality and foodservice businesses £3.2bn annually. Meanwhile supermarkets throw away 200,000 tonnes of own-label food each year according to sustainability group Anthesis.

There has already been great strides at bringing food waste under control in recent years. But, at a time when 4 million children in the UK are facing food poverty, it is still too high. Here are some things food businesses can do to bring their level of food waste down:

Think local

While national businesses work with large charities at scale, independents can make a difference locally by partnering with causes on their doorstep. Charities, religious groups, schools and youth services are a good place to start. You will make a real difference to your community, while winning the hearts and minds of local shoppers.

Use techy food waste solutions

Partnering with an app such as Too Good to Go or Gander can enable you to recoup the cost of food that would otherwise go to waste, while reaching new shoppers. These apps overindex among younger consumers too – a key demographic for foodservice and retail businesses to reach.

Instil values

By raising the issue of food waste among your team, you can make sure that your staff are thinking about it when they are ordering products or managing stock as the use-by date nears. At MTJ PR, we’ve introduced a number of initiatives to ensure that we do not waste food. A favourite of ours is to encouraging sharing among the team. We also look at ways to use food for different uses, such as making soups.

We all have a part to play. Tackling food waste may actually be easier than we think, but only if we give it the priority it deserves.

It really is food for thought!

Read more: Could trade advertising become carbon neutral by 2030?