KFC faces boycott in China over meal toy promotion

KFC restaurant in Shanghai, China.

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

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

KFC kicked off the promotion last week with Pop Mart, a Chinese toymaker known for its mystery boxes.

Customers can collect limited-edition versions of big-eyed, round-faced Dimoo dolls when purchasing select KFC meals.

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

This led to a customer spending 10,494 yuan (£1,202; $1,649) on more than 100 meals at one time to collect the toys, while people also paid others to buy meals for them, or simply threw them away, the statement added.

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

Yum China, which operates KFC China, and Pop Mart did not immediately respond to BBC requests for comment.

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

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

The “Clean Plate Campaign” came amid growing concerns about food safety during the pandemic.

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

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