According to a recent study, over one-third of Europe's fruits and vegetables are discarded each year because they are considered too ugly to sell.

The research conducted by the University of Edinburgh claimed that the region was discarding over 50 million tonnes of fruit and vegetables each year due to the produce not meeting the European Government’s strict cosmetic requirements.

The cosmetic standards of fruit and vegetables for supermarkets are a huge reason for the high level of waste. Size, shape and colour all must be of a high standard before products can be sold into supermarkets from the grower. It is estimated that two-thirds of grower’s produce is unsaleable due to strict cosmetic requirements.

These requirements can be as basic as no crocked carrots or cucumbers, no straight bananas, no discolouration or sunburn, broccoli cannot be too purple and no sign of insect tampering. However, the general rule is that produce must all be uniform.

Professor David Reay of the School of GeoSciences at the Univesity of Edinburgh said: “The scale of food that is wasted when it is perfectly safe to eat is shocking at a time when one-tenth of the world’s population is perpetually underfed.”

With the rise of the eco-conscious consumer more and more companies are coming together to combat food waste. Earlier this year a group of Dutch companies, research organisations and government bodies came together to reveal the goal of cutting the Netherland’s food waste in half by the year 2030.

Recently UK supermarket chains; Aldi, Tesco, Morrisons, Asada and Lidl all began selling discounted “wonky” vegetable boxes as a way of reducing food waste.