The fast food chain came under fire on Wednesday from a national consumer watchdog watched by Chinese state media and the government.
They take issue with the company’s new promotion, which allows customers to receive a random selection of free, limited-edition toys with their meals. According to a scathing statement from the China Consumer Association, people have rushed to buy too much food with the intention of eating it.
The toys have proven popular: According to the Consumer Union, some customers have paid others to eat their food so they can receive the toys. Others simply throw away the food they can’t finish.
The watchdog said some people have bought more than 100 meals at once, spending about 10,500 yuan (about $1,650) in an effort to assemble the entire line.
It is clearly “caused by unnecessary food waste due to over-shopping,” it said in its statement, noting that China took new measures last year to curb food waste and urging companies to help. Did.
The association described KFC as a victim of the “irrationality of the consumers” and encouraged them to buy more food, “which is against public order, good customs and the spirit of the law.”
It urged consumers “not to be motivated or misled in excessive consumption”.
Yum China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“There is nothing wrong with business marketing,” it wrote. But “when planning marketing strategies, catering operators must avoid potential waste.”
—Jill Disis contributed to this report.