A major government backed Chinese consumer rights group has called for a boycott of a meal deal launched by American fast food chain KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) in mainland China. It said that the promotion sent consumers into a buying frenzy and caused food to be wasted.
In celebration of the 35th anniversary of KFC opening its first restaurant in China, the fried chicken chain launched a promotion with mainland Chinese toy maker Pop Mart called KFC X DIMOO on Jan. 4. A mystery box that came with certain meals contained a toy, some of which were limited edition Dimoo toy dolls.
KFC also said on Jan. 5 that if consumers buy a 99 yuan ($15.60) family bucket meal, they can have one of the Dimoo dolls.
The promotion caused a buying frenzy of people who wanted to collect the dolls. On Chinese online platforms, the prices of KFC blind boxes were resold at prices up to 8 times higher than the original price, ranging from 600 to 800 yuan ($100-$126).
On its official website, the China Consumers Association, a Chinese regime backed organization, criticized KFC’s promotion on Jan. 12. It said that according to the sales rules, to collect a complete set of the toy dolls, at least 6 sets of meal deals needed to be purchased, and the probability of getting a doll in a blind box was 1:72. In order to collect all the dolls, consumers would need to spend 10,494 yuan (about $1652) to buy 106 sets of meals at a time. Some people paid others to purchase meals for them just to get a blind box, and some just threw the food away after getting a toy.
The article criticized KFC’s “use of limited edition blind box sales to induce and condone consumers’ irrational and excessive purchase of meal sets, which is against public order, good customs, and the spirit of the law.” The consumers association called on the public to boycott the KFC meal promotion.
KFC officials did not respond to criticism from the China Consumers Association. A customer service staff of KFC Shanghai said on Jan. 12 that the blind box promotion is still on, but stores that have sold out will not restock them. In Beijing, a KFC spokesperson said the blind boxes were sold out.
The Chinese regime passed an “anti-food wastage law” and launched a major campaign against “food wastage” in 2020 amid the COIVD-19 outbreak, ordered by Party leader Xi Jinping. It banned both domestic and international binge eating videos on media and social media as part of the regime’s tightened control of internet content.
Social media influencers who make a living by binge eating online were shut down and restaurant goers were told not to order more than they can eat. The campaign caused controversy, as many citizens pointed out that the major food waste in China was caused by the government officials prevalent use of taxpayers’ money for extravagant banquets.