Over a third of fruit and vegetables grown across Europe never reach shop shelves because they don’t meet supermarket standards for appearance.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh found that over 50 million tonnes of misshapen fresh produce are discarded every year, which equates to the carbon emissions of 400,000 cars.
Professor David Reay 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.”
Scientists suggested that encouraging people to be less picky about how their fruit and vegetables look could encourage the sale of more ugly produce.
They also said that misshapen produce could be used more frequently in chopped, processed or pickled goods, or for sale at a discount to charities.