Morrisons has outlined plans to help consumers reduce their food waste, as part of the second phase of the Courtauld agreement, signed last week.

The retailer said it would introduce 'smart' packaging to help prolong the life of fresh produce, introduce labels telling consumers where best to store products, and give away meal planning cards to stop people buying too much food.

Each year, the nation discards 8.3 million tonnes of food, which rots in landfill, giving off methane. The waste also costs consumers money. According to Morrisons, £12bn worth of food that could have been eaten is thrown out each year at an average cost of £680 per family. Most of this waste could be avoided with better storage and preparation advice.

The first of the retailer's three initiatives is new packaging being developed by Writtle College, a partner of the University of Essex, in order to prolong the life of fresh produce. The college has already discovered broccoli could be kept fresh for an extra two days if kept packaged in the fridge, said Morrisons.

The retailer will also introduce 'best kept' labels on products to advise how best to store them. The labels will advise consumers to store apples and citrus fruit in the fridge, and potatoes and tomatoes at room temperature.

Finally, the retailer will produce recipe cards with several recipes based on one main ingredient, to help consumers cut down on the amount they buy.