Retailers are being told to do more to help reduce the huge volume of fruit and veg thrown away uneaten by consumers each day.

New figures released by Wrap this week revealed that 5.1 million potatoes, 4.4 million apples, 2.8 million tomatoes, 1.6 million bananas and 1.2 million oranges are thrown away every day. Fruit and vegetables account for 40% of the 6.7 million tonnes of food waste from UK homes each year.

A key reason for the wastage is believed to be a lack of public understanding that keeping fresh produce refrigerated can extend shelf life. For example, many consumers are unaware that peppers, carrots and lemons will last at least a week longer in the fridge.

While storage advice is often given on-pack, retailers are failing to provide information on how to store loose produce, Wrap said.

"The research highlights an opportunity for retailers to give more storage information to their customers, whether they are buying loose or pre-packed produce," said Wrap chief executive Liz Goodwin.

Wrap is currently working with industry partners including Sainsbury's and Mack Multiples to study consumer storage habits in the home and what can be done to reduce food wastage. The findings are expected this summer.

As part of the research, Sainsbury's launched a trial last week in which it put shelf labels stating 'Refrigerate for freshness' in the fruit and vegetable aisles of all its stores. The company's website will also feature storage advice for the most popular fresh produce, while Sainsbury's magazine will include a section offering recipe suggestions for fruit and vegetables in season.

Wrap is also running a campaign, Love Food Hate Waste, which aims to educate consumers about the waste of food and resources from UK homes.

According to the campaign, the two main reasons for throwing away food are cooking too much of it or allowing it to go off.