Sean Poulter, the Daily Mail's consumer affairs editor, was at his brazen best this week, accusing Tesco of "penny pinching" with its wafer-thin plastic bags in the same article in which he attacked supermarkets for "failing to reduce packaging".

They are so thin, he reported, "they risk splitting sending bottles and jars crashing to the floor". That, Sean, is indeed the "risk" if, in an effort to placate consumers and campaigning newspapers such as the Daily Mail, you cut packaging.

Such wanton supermarket baiting undermines an otherwise important point, however. Despite lightweighting plastic bags and glass bottles and Easter eggs; despite introducing bag for life schemes and refillable pouches of instant coffee, the annual total of waste in the last five years has stayed at 2.9 million tonnes, as supermarket expansion has offset a 4% decline in the packaging per product.

So what can be done? Let's face it, the industry could go further. Packaging isn't there just to protect. Putting a cardboard sleeve on a uniform plastic container in which you've housed an otherwise nondescript piece of meat helps denote quality, whether merited or not. Packaging is like sex put it on the cover. It sells.

But Poulter's mistake is believing supermarkets and consumers are forever at odds. In the article he contrasts evil supermarkets with families (holy ground for the Daily Mail) who "far exceeded a target to reduce the amount of food thrown away" in the home.

Well, here's an unpalatable truth, Sean. As we report in this week's issue, Cadbury won't be repeating a trial from last Christmas to sell Roses chocolates in square cardboard boxes. And there can be only one reason: the shoppers didn't buy it.

For all the progress the industry makes to reducing packaging, it does a job. And where's the waste in that?