'WASTE not want not' is an important message we should all heed.

Escalating living costs are already stretching our finances so re-using and recycling has never been more important.

There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to food. According to WRAP, described as a 'catalyst for positive economic and environmental action' three major WRAP studies published in 2013 and 2016 estimated annual food waste from UK households, hospitality, food service, manufacture, retail and wholesale sectors to be around 10 million tonnes - 60 per cent of which they say could have been avoided.

However, 710,000 tonnes of surplus from manufacturing and retail is either being redistributed via charitable and commercial routes or diverted to produce animal feed.

The latest brand to get on board with helping to reduce food waste is East of England Coop after it announced it was the first major retailer to start selling products beyond their 'Best Before' date for a nominal 10p which, it anticipates, will save two metric tonnes from being wasted every year.

East of England Coop's Joint Chief Executive, Roger Grosvenor, who heads up the company’s retail division and has spear-headed the initiative, says: "This is not a money making exercise, but a sensible move to reduce food waste and keep edible food in the food chain. By selling perfectly edible food we can save 50,000 items every year which would otherwise have gone to waste.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advises that products past their ‘Best Before’ date are safe to consume but may not be at the optimum quality intended by the producer. The heavily reduced products will remain on sale for one month past their Best Before date.

The majority of products that use ‘Best Before’ dates will be included, such as tinned goods, packets and dried food. The 10p reduced products will not include ‘Use By’ dated products, which should not be consumed after the Use By date has passed.

To quote Tesco's 'Every Little Helps' slogan, the supermarket giant certainly does when it comes to contributing surplus food to good causes.

A spokesman explained they already work hard to minimise surplus in our stores by reducing-to-clear food close to its expiry date.

Food that cannot be sold is offered to charities and community groups, helping to feed people in need through its Community Food Connection programme, delivered in partnership with UK food redistribution charity FareShare.

"So far, we have donated enough food to provide 10 million meals to more than 5,000 charities and community groups across the UK. These include homeless shelters, substance abuse rehabilitation services, after-school clubs, foodbanks and domestic violence hostels."

In 2015 Bradford-based supermarket giant, Morrisons, launched its initiative to end the waste of edible food in its 500 supermarkets.

Unsold food that is still safe to eat is made available and donated to local community organisations who can collect the food, including fresh fruit, vegetables as well as tinned and packeted produce, that would previously have been wasted during the week.

A store spokesman explained that the level of edible waste is already minimised through measures such as discounting food before it can no longer be sold, or using it in their staff canteens.

The small percentage of edible food in Morrisons stores that is wasted is currently used to produce energy rather than going to landfill. This initiative will ensure it gets eaten.

Asda's 'Love Food Hate Waste' campaign offers left-over food tips and recipes in-store online and through its magazine. It also works with schools and the community.

In Bradford and beyond, great strides are being made into reducing food waste such as the Fuel for School scheme launched in 2015.

Currently, more than 50 schools in Bradford and Leeds are benefitting from deliveries of surplus food which they are putting to good purpose through breakfast and after school clubs and pay-as-you-feel food stalls.

Duncan Milwain, one of the directors of the Shipley Food Project which runs the Saltaire Canteen pay-as-you-feel cafe, and a trustee of the Real Junk Food Project charitable Foundation which is championing the pay-as-you-feel network, anticipates more than 400 tonnes of food will have been intercepted and put to good use through their network in Bradford and Leeds by the end of the year.

He says they are also looking at trialling a new scheme in the New Year based on the traditional veg box delivery using intercepted food.

But Duncan believes educating young people about the importance of reducing food waste is imperative to ensure the message is carried on for future generations.

He says the key is increasing the number of schools taking part and, hopefully, rolling it out to other parts of the country. "Teaching the next generation of children is the key," says Duncan.