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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

China slams KFC for ‘unnecessary food waste’

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.

KFC recently unveiled its campaign to celebrate the franchise’s 35th year in the country. In China, the chain is owned by yum china ,UMC,, a US and Hong Kong-listed Chinese company that also runs Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in the mainland.
The promotion features a line of baby figurines placed inside so-called “mystery boxes”, which have become a huge trend in China and usually involve people buying packages without knowing what’s inside.
According to a flyer posted on the company’s official Chinese social media account, customers who want to chance upon a full set of dolls will have to purchase at least six meals.

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.

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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”.

KFC is running low on chicken in Australia and McDonald's Japan is restricting the sale of french fries

Yum China did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

There are few issues more important to Beijing than food security. Last year, the Chinese government unveiled an “action plan” encouraging people not to order more food than they needed, and to report restaurants that waste supplies.
On Wednesday, Chinese state media struck a chord with several outlets covering criticism against KFC.
In a brief editorial, ChinaNews.com – a digital news publication run by the country’s second-largest state-owned news agency – called the chain’s move “brainless”.

“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.


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