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10/19/2021

Yum China Expands Commitment to Reducing Food Waste

Yum China Holdings Inc. is expanding its commitment to reducing food waste through the gradual expansion of its existing pilot Food Bank program to cover more stores and cities across China.
Anna Wolfe
Senior Editor - Restaurants
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a store inside of a building

Yum China Holdings Inc. is expanding its commitment to reducing food waste through the gradual expansion of its existing pilot Food Bank program to cover more stores and cities across China. The program works in cooperation with local authorities to distribute surplus food at stores to nearby residents in need.

Yum China has been working on reducing food waste by employing technology, such as AI and IoT, to improve sales forecasting accuracy and inventory management. As store traffic is affected by many variable factors such as the weather, stores may occasionally have food left unsold. In September 2020, KFC launched its pilot Food Bank program in Shenzhen to distribute surplus food for free to nearby residents in need. As of the end of September 2021, the Food Bank program covers over 100 KFC restaurants in 18 cities.

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"At Yum China, we not only focus on active management with our AI-empowered system, but also adopt innovative approaches, to help reduce food waste," said Joey Wat, CEO of Yum China. "Realizing the positive impacts of reducing food waste requires collaboration and partnership. We will continue to engage our customers and other stakeholders to mitigate food waste which in turn will benefit the economy, environment and society."

Sustainability Matters Again

Consumers are increasingly aware of hospitality companies' sustainability initiatives and preferences. According to its 2020 Sustainability ReportChipotle Mexican Grill  achieved a 51% waste diversion rate through recycling, composting, and waste-to-energy programs. Other brands are disclosing more information about their practices:  In collaboration with World Resources Institute, Panera is labeling climate-friendly "Cool Food Meals" on its menu—those meals that have a low impact on the climate.  And in Texas,  The Richter Tavern showcased a HerdX blockchain tracked and verified beef shipment. In 2022, Just Salad will expand its Reusable Bowl Program to digital orders and offer participating customers loyalty rewards in its mobile app.

Food waste is one of the most pervasive issues kitchens face. Yum's Food Bank program involves establishing food bank pick-up stations at participating stores to ensure that unsold food in the store that day is properly collected, packaged and frozen. Information such as the date of deposit and the consumption guidelines are clearly marked on each packaging bag.

The Food Bank program is designed to support China's national campaign against food waste and contribute to the UN's Sustainable Development Goal for responsible consumption and production. Meanwhile, Yum China actively supports China's government-led "Empty Your Plate" campaign to eliminate food waste, with anti-food waste posters and slogans prominently displayed in stores.

Yum China strives to establish a responsible ecosystem by building sustainable restaurants, creating a sustainable supply chain with partners, and building sustainable communities with all stakeholders. In combination with several other waste reduction initiatives already implemented by Yum China, the Food Bank program is an important initiative for the Company to reduce food waste and contribute to building a responsible and sustainable society.