KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion that ‘encourages food waste’

A Chinese group has called for the boycott of a KFC meal promotion, saying it encourages food waste.

The China Consumer Association (CCA) says the promotion sent some customers into a buying frenzy.

KFC launched the promotion last week with Pop Mart, a Chinese toy maker known for its mystery boxes.

Customers are able to collect limited edition versions of large-eyed and round-faced Dimoo toy dolls when buying certain KFC set meals.

KFC “used limited-edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers’ irrational and excessive purchase of meal sets, which goes against public order, good customs and the spirit of the law”, the state-affiliated CCA said in a statement.

That led one customer to spend 10,494 yuan approximately $1,649 on 106 of the meals in one go to collect the toys, while people also paid others to purchase meals for them, or just threw them away, the statement added.

KFC launched the promotion to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the opening of its first outlet in mainland China.

In 2020, the Chinese government launched a major campaign against food waste, which was spearheaded by President Xi Jinping.

President Xi called the amount of food wasted as “shocking and distressing”.

The “Clean Plate Campaign” came against the backdrop of growing concerns about food security during the pandemic.

The campaign saw online influencers being banned from binge eating on social media platforms, while restaurant-goers were urged to not order more than they could eat.