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KFC blasted by China for ‘causing unnecessary food waste’

KFC blasted by China for 'causing unnecessary food waste'
Written by publishing team

The fast-food chain was criticized on Wednesday by Chinese state media and the government-run national consumer watchdog.

They’re having trouble with the company’s new promotion, which allows customers to receive random selections of free, limited-edition games with their meals. This has led to people rushing to buy a lot of food with no intention of eating it, according to a scathing statement from the Consumers Association of China.

KFC recently revealed its campaign to celebrate 35 years of franchising in the country. In China, the chain is owned by yum china (you can)Ltd., a Chinese company listed in the US and Hong Kong that also operates Taco Bell and Pizza Hut on the mainland.
The promotion includes a set of figurines of children placed inside so-called “mystery boxes”, which have become a huge trend in China and usually involve people who buy packages without knowing what’s inside.
Customers who want the chance of a full set of dolls must purchase at least six meals, according to a post on the company’s official Chinese social media account.

Games have proven popular: According to the Consumers Association, some customers paid others to eat their meals just so they could get the toys. Others simply throw away food they can’t finish.

Few people bought more than 100 meals at once, and spent nearly 10,500 yuan (about $1,650) trying to collect the full amount, the watchdog said.

In her statement, she added that this is clearly “causing unnecessary waste of food due to over-purchasing,” noting that last year China took new measures to prevent food waste and urging businesses to help.

The association also criticized KFC for what it described as violating the “irrationality of consumers” to encourage them to buy more meals “which are contrary to public order, good habits and the spirit of the law.”

She urged consumers “not to tempt or mislead them into excessive consumption.”

KFC in Australia is starting low on chicken, and McDonald's Japan is restricting sales of french fries

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

Few issues are more important to Beijing than food security. Last year, the Chinese government unveiled an “action plan” that encourages people not to order more food than they need, and to report restaurants that waste supplies.
On Wednesday, Chinese state media added to the reaction, with several outlets covering the criticism leveled against Kentucky Fried Chicken.
In a brief editorial, ChinaNews.com – a digital news publication operated by the country’s second largest state-owned news agency – called the chain’s move “brainless”.

“There is nothing wrong with marketing a business,” she wrote. But “when planning marketing strategies, catering operators should avoid potential waste.”

Jill Dessis contributed to this report.

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