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Chinese Diners Told to Order Less

Chinese Diners Told to Order Less

Thursday, 13 August, 2020 - 10:15
FILE PHOTO: A staff member is seen at the booth of Sanquan Food promoting its dumpling products at a food fair in Shanghai, China September 6, 2012. REUTERS/Stringer

Chinese diners are being told to order less food as part of a campaign by President Xi Jinping to tackle waste and embrace thrift.

"Operation empty plate" aims to overturn the ingrained cultural habit of ordering extra food for group meals.

Xi was quoted in state media this week as saying food waste is "shocking and distressing," adding it was "necessary to maintain crisis awareness regarding food security".

"This year's impact of the coronavirus pandemic has further sounded the alarm for us."

Regional catering groups responded to Xi's call by embracing a so-called "N-1 policy" -- urging groups of customers to order one dish fewer than the number of diners at a table.

The campaign also suggests restaurants serve smaller or half-portions for lone diners.

A 2018 report by the Chinese Academy of Sciences claimed the average restaurant diner wasted 93 grams (3 ounces) of food every meal, contributing to the 18 million tons of food large cities throw away every year.

Public concerns over food security have increased in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, which initially saw panic-buying and shortages in locked-down cities.

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