Morrisons has launched its “Great Taste Less Waste” programme to reduce the amount of food waste its customers create.

The grocer has investigated the optimum ways to package fresh produce so that it lasts as long possible and aims to educate its customers on how best to store it at home.

Speaking at a Local Government Association-organised debate on packaging, Morrisons chief executive Marc Bolland said: “We want to reduce rubbish. We want to make sure people use what they buy and eat what they buy.

“Our research has found that customers create most of the wastage [of food]. This is because it isn’t stored properly. Food waste is a major cost for families of £600 per household per year. This adds up to £10 billion across the country and is unacceptable in terms of the planet and in terms of waste.”

He added that one of the reasons for launching the campaign was that food waste has three-times the carbon emissions of packaging waste and accounts for 2 per cent of carbon emissions generated by the UK.

Morrisons has used its own laboratories and other scientific establishments to work out the most effective packaging and storage solutions for fresh produce. It discovered that green and red peppers need no packaging at all, but cucumbers are best packed in shrink-wrapped film and will last up to 14 days, compared to three days with no packaging.

Morrisons will now put stickers on its fresh produce advising customers on how best to store food. This will include advice to put apples in the fridge because they will last up to 14 days longer, while leaving tomatoes in the open air will also make them stay fresher and taste better according to the retailer.

Bolland also announced that instead of “Buy One Get One Free” offers, Morrisons’ customers will be offered “One Free to Freeze” promotions designed to encourage them to plan ahead. This will be linked to advice on when it is appropriate to freeze and defrost fresh products on best before and use-by dates.