A top Chinese consumer group has called for a boycott of a KFC meal promotion, saying it encourages food waste.
According to the China Consumers Association (CCA), the promotion caused a buying frenzy among some customers.
KFC launched the promotion last week in collaboration with Pop Mart, a Chinese toy manufacturer known for its mystery boxes.
When purchasing certain KFC set meals, customers can collect limited edition versions of large-eyed and round-faced Dimoo dolls.
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.
According to the statement, one customer spent 10,494 yuan (£1,202; $1,649) on more than 100 meals in one go to collect the toys, while others paid others to purchase meals for them or simply threw them away.
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 requests for comment from the BBC.
In 2020, the Chinese government launched a major campaign against food waste, which was spearheaded by President Xi Jinping.
The amount of food wasted, according to President Xi, is “shocking and distressing.”
During the pandemic, there were growing concerns about food security, prompting the “Clean Plate Campaign.”
Online influencers were barred from binge eating on social media platforms as part of the campaign, and restaurant patrons were advised not to order more than they could eat.