Consumers are being urged to shop ‘little and often’ in their local shop in order to help reduce the seven million tonnes of food being thrown away annually in Britain.

A new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that up to half of the food that is bought in Europe is thrown away by consumers, and 30-50% of food produced around the world is never eaten.

The report, Global Food: Waste Not Want Not, noted that supermarkets often rejected entire crops and adopted sales tactics which resulted in waste.

“Of the produce that does appear in the supermarket, commonly used sales promotions frequently encourage customers to purchase excessive quantities which, in the case of perishable foodstuffs, inevitable generates wasted at home,” the report said.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said consumers could reduce wastage by shopping in convenience.

“By shopping little and often at their local shop, customers can reduce the amount of food they waste. This is one of the trends that is fuelling the growth of the convenience store sector,” he said.

“Shoppers particularly want to buy fresh and perishable food more frequently and locally.  We have seen strong growth in sales of chilled food and fresh fruit and vegetables in our members stores in recent years.”

He said the findings should further encourage retailers to invest in stocking quality fruit and vegetables, which now represented 5.9% of sales in convenience – up from 4.1% in 2007.