Recently, selling “leftover” food produced by various food factories in China has become popular online. Some businesses even chant the slogan “store by weight, don’t be cheap.” Many are also happy to enjoy the relatively cheap food. However, some netizens expressed concern about the quality of this food, also suggesting that its popularity shows that Chinese people are really running out of money. This is a manifestation of how the CCP’s “zero-COVID” policy is wearing on the economy and people’s lives.
The “Emerging trends of new retail white paper 2022Q1” shows that, in the first quarter of 2022, two online shopping sites, Taobao and Tmall, sold more than 20 million yuan ($2.8 million) worth of “leftovers,” an increase of 17 times over the same period last year.
According to VCT news, in the understanding of consumers, food waste is generally the waste materials created by manufacturers during food processing, transportation, prototyping, and packaging. The leftovers such as dried meat crumbs, ham crumbs, bread crumbs or nuts, are foods that are not used in the official products due to irregular shape and other eye-appeal reasons. But the processing technology and quality are exactly the same as the official products and the price is relatively low.
Producers can process leftovers into food for sale, this can reduce losses, reduce costs, and avoid waste. Because of the low price, consumers can also get some benefits. This looks like a win-win.
However, Sound of Hope said, some netizens are concerned about the food safety of “leftovers.” Some people frankly think that “leftovers” are cheap but have a limitation, for example, bread of a certain brand only has a shelf life of one week. They sell the leftover’s in very large quantities and after deducting the delivery time, the shelf life is rather short. It is also difficult for people to eat it all within the time limit. In addition, due to the explosion of “leftovers,” there have been a large number of similar foods of unknown origin being sold on the internet. These merchants don’t have genuine products, only scraps with no manufacturer and date specified, which can present a serious food safety problem.
According to Sound of Hope, some analysts said that the explosion of “leftover” food in China is a manifestation of the deterioration of people’s living standards. Under the oppression of external circumstances such as city lockdowns, rising unemployment, and a looming economic recession, people are no longer able to maintain their previous standard of living, and can only continue to tighten their belts and reduce necessary living costs.