Authorities criticize KFC for inducing irrational purchase through 'blind box' sales of limited amount
Published: Jan 12, 2022 09:23 PM
KFC's blind box toy sales. Photo: from web

KFC's "blind box" toy sales. Photo: from web

China Consumer Association (CCA) criticized KFC in a Wednesday statement for inducing and encouraging consumers' irrational purchase by promoting "blind box" toy sales of limited amount, which has caused the price of the toys to skyrocket in second-hand markets. Some customers have spent over 100,000 yuan ($1,570) in order to get a full set of the toys. 

The promotion of limited-edition "blind box" toys with the sale of KFC family buckets can easily induce impulse purchase of consumers and cause unnecessary food waste due to overbuying, CCA said in the statement.

It added that the promotion is "hunger marketing" of KFC, as a fast-food company, to boost sales. 

CCA's statement came amid controversy that KFC has been caught in after launching a co-branded product - a set of six limited-edition "blind box" toys -- in cooperation with Chinese toy maker Pop Mart to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the opening of its first location in China.

The "blind box" toy is randomly contained in a 99-yuan KFC family set meal. Some versions of the toys are hard to get, with the rarest one appearing in one out of 72 meals, according to the statement.

The "blind box" meal package immediately became popular among KFC consumers as well as fans of Pop Mart after its launch. 

A Beijing resident, surnamed Zhang, told the Global Times that he bought three packages at a time on January 4 in a store in Beijing's Chaoyang district. "For Pop Mart fans like me, this is a good chance to collect these cute toys," she said, adding that there is one version that she was particularly into, but did not get in all three blind boxes. 

She noted that she had eaten most of the family set meals with her roommates within two days and had to throw away the rest that they could not finish. 

With limited amount, the toys have also taken China's second-hand online markets. On Xianyu, a used goods online platform, the price of a set of six "blind box" toys is between 600 yuan and 800 yuan and the price of some rare version is reaching as high as 800 yuan each, an eight-fold increase from the original price. 

To help out those who care more about getting the toys than the meals, some netizens have started a "help-eating" service online. "You get the toys, I will get the calories," said a "help-eating" service provider.