China consumer rights group says KFC promotion encourages buying frenzy

Part of the Pop Mart Dimoo KFC series limited edition.
PHOTO: Sina Weibo

BEIJING - A top Chinese consumer rights group on Wednesday (Jan 12) urged the public to boycott a meal promotion by Yum China-operated KFC restaurants, which it said sent some consumers into a buying frenzy, wasting food.

KFC launched the promotion last week with Pop Mart, a Chinese toymaker known for its mystery boxes, which allowed customers to collect limited-edition versions of large-eyed and round-faced Dimoo toy dolls when buying certain KFC meals.

This led to at least one consumer spending 10,494 yuan (S$2,222) to buy 106 set meals at one go to collect the toys, the China Consumer Association said in a statement, describing it as "impulsive consumption".

Other people paid others to purchase meals for them, or just threw them away.

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 association said.

Yum China and Pop Mart did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

KFC launched the promotion to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the opening of its first outlet on the Chinese mainland. The mystery boxes have been a big trend, particularly among young people.

China in 2020 launched a major campaign against food wastage, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping, amid growing worries about food security during the Covid-19 pandemic.

As part of the campaign, it banned online influencers from binge eating on social media platforms, and also urged restaurant-goers not to order more than they can eat.