China’s Clean Plate drive aims to reduce food waste

clean plate campaign
Source: Wallpaperflare

China recently launched “Clean Plate” campaign after President Xi Jinping highlighted that COVID-19 had raised the alarm on food waste. In addition, the campaign came just weeks after mass flooding across southern China that destroyed farms and tonnes of food produce.

With the campaign, Mr Xi urged people of china to stop wasting food and be sensible with the food they order.

However, this is not the first time that China has come up with the campaign concerning waste management overhaul. Particularly, the government had endorsed “Operation Empty Plate” in 2013.

Research on food waste

Clean plate campaign
In 2018, 11% of the total food directly went to trash
Source: Wallpaperflare


As per the survey of Geographic and National Resource Research and the World Wide Fund in 2018, the amount of food waste in major Chinese cities was shocking.

The survey focusing on 366 restaurants showed that per person per meal wasted nearly 100 grams of food in China. Surprisingly, the result of the survey concluded that 11% of the total food directly went to trash without being touched.

‘Clean Plate’ campaign schemes

To implement the ‘Clean Plate’ campaign, different city officials have come up with different plans. As per a report, the Wuhan Catering Industry Association has urged city restaurants to reduce the number of dishes for dinners. The association also has a plan to implement a system where groups must order one dish less than the number of people. To understand more clearly, a group of 10 people can order only 9 dishes in this scheme.

"Clean Plate" campaign
“Clean Plate” campaign was recently launched in China
Source: Needpix

Likewise, the authorities in Shangai city have come up with food guidelines for restaurants. Restaurants must indicate the amount of food per serving, as per the guidelines. The officials have also suggested the number of items they can put in the menu. In addition to regular meals, the restaurants will also sell ‘half portions’ and ‘small portions’ meals. Not only restaurants, but this guideline will also be strictly followed in schools, hospitals, and more.

Is China facing a food crisis?

Media have speculated that China faces an imminent food crisis due to the virus situation, floods in southern China. Chinese farmers clarified the above-mentioned factors did not contribute to China’s food crisis. However, Chinese agriculturalists think that the real threat is food waste.

China’s “Clean Plate” campaign has nothing to do with the current pandemic or recent floods. Professor, Zheng Fengtian, talking with Global Times said China already has ample food reserves. On the other hand, as per WHO, the world is on the verge of the worst food crisis in 50 years. 

Virus inducing a global food crisis?

As the world’s top three exporter of grain, the US, Brazil, and India are the most affected country by COVID-19. This clearly suggests that the food crisis is imminent.

clean plate campaign
World’s top three grains exporters, the US, Brazil, and India are the most affected country by COVID-19
Source: Pixel

The pandemic has had an influence on global grain production and trade outside of China. Particularly, the powerhouse of grain production, Vietnam, and India have already stopped the export of rice. 

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