Defra has claimed that 17% of all food bought by UK shoppers ends up in the bin.

Based on the research, the average person throws out £26.68 worth of food every month – equivalent to £346.84 a year.

Single-person households are the worst offenders, throwing out 22% of the food they buy.

But the British Food Federation has claimed that if shoppers bought more frozen than fresh, they could reduce that figure to “virtually zero”.

“When millions of people in the world go to bed hungry every night, it’s shocking to see that almost a fifth of food purchased is destined for the rubbish bin,” said BFFF director general Brian Young.

“If more consumers opted for frozen, there would be virtually zero waste from products perishing in the cupboard or fridge. Frozen products can have shelf lives of around 12 months or more depending on the product and will remain in peak condition for the duration of this when stored correctly.

“However, fresh vegetables can spend up to 14 days in the supply chain, where product quality and vitamin and mineral content declines. It is not surprising that fresh produce often perishes before it can be consumed.”

The research claimed that a third of the 5.3 million tonnes of waste is made up of bread, 24% is vegetables and 13% is meat and fish.