Hosts of online eating shows have been accused of wasting food. VISUAL PEOPLE
Online eating shows, or Mukbang, originated in South Korea and have gained popularity globally.
Many hosts of such shows become popular for their ability to eat large amounts of food. But these shows have also received criticism for their waste of food. While some hosts actually do consume the amount of food shown, others may be faking it.
On Aug 12, CCTV exposed several Chinese hosts who were pretending to eat large amounts of food while on camera, but actually later threw it away.
To discourage this practice, many video and livestreaming platforms, including Douyin, Kuaishou and Bilibili, have removed videos that show food waste, and have promoted messages to “stop food waste and eat reasonably”.
In June 2020, the United Nations warned that the world is on the verge of the worst food crisis in 50 years.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about a third of the world’s food – 1.3 billion tons – is wasted every year. In China alone, 50 million tons of food ends up in landfills every year, according to Beijing News.
Recently, campaigns against food waste have been further promoted. In August, President Xi Jinping stressed the need for safeguarding food security and halting food waste.
According to China Daily, restaurants and catering associations in more than 18 provinces and all 4 municipal cities have issued guidelines to control food waste.
In Shaanxi province, local restaurants have been asked to serve half portions to avoid waste. The Wuhan Catering Association proposed that restaurants adopt the “N-1 mode”. For example, a group of 10 diners should only order enough for nine people at first. More food is only brought to the table if required.
In addition, a nationwide “Clear Your Plate” campaign has been launched online. Users of Sina Weibo are encouraged to share photos or videos of empty plates after finishing their meals.
Meanwhile, new laws are also being considered, according to China Daily. “We will make new laws that give clear instructions on avoiding food waste,” said Zhang Guilong from the Legislative Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress. The instructions will be detailed in every part of food production, purchasing, storage, transportation, processing and consumption, according to Zhang.