Companies have committed to a common and long-term approach
Five major Irish retailers have agreed to make food waste prevention a priority.
Tesco Ireland, Musgrave, Aldi Ireland, Lidl Ireland and BWG Group have signed the Food Waste Charter.
This commits them to a common and long-term approach to tackling waste in the sector.
The companies have agreed a methodology for the collection of food waste data within their businesses.
This is set to provide an evidence base for prevention measures and monitoring progress in implementing change.
Environment Minister Denis Naughten said: "I believe Ireland can be a world leader in tackling food waste and I would like the retail sector to be part of this.
"Today is another major step on the road to a more collaborative approach to the prevention of food waste.
"In signing up to the Food Waste Charter retailers are showing a willingness to work collectively for the greater good of society by promoting, prioritising and planning for the prevention of food waste in a more collaborative way."
Figures from the Department of Communications Climate Action and Environment show the average family throws away €700 worth of food every year in Ireland.
It says half of this discarded food is unused or still in its wrapper.
Minister Naughten says he hopes other businesses will sign up.
"The more businesses that are involved in this type of combined approach the more we can capitalise on the benefits of working together to reduce waste, protect the environment, and save money.
"Retailers have a unique reach into our communities.
"The messages they send to farmers, to suppliers and to customers have real impact.
"They have made themselves indispensable in our modern busy lives but their purchasing power and marketing power brings responsibility too."
This initiative also forms part of Irish efforts towards meeting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 12 on Responsible Consumption and Production.
It hopes to achieve the target of halving per capita food waste by 2030.
Director-General of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Laura Burke said: "To become sustainable we need to change the way that we act.
"Working together to reduce food waste demonstrates a willingness to embrace this change.
"The EPA is committed to providing leadership and support towards reducing food waste."