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HK govt addresses concerns over Donki's ‘sushi blind box’ conundrum

HK govt addresses concerns over Donki's ‘sushi blind box’ conundrum

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The Hong Kong authorities have clarified that retail supermarkets can still use plastic containers and lids for packaged food amidst the heated discussions around local retailer Don Don Donki's paper-made sushi containers.

This comes after photos of Donki offering food items in paper packaging for dine-in consumers went viral online.

Media intelligence firm CARMA saw over 689 mentions about Donki's replacement of plastic boxes across social platforms since the awards, with 7.5% positive sentiments and 37.4% negative sentiments.

Meanwhile, social monitoring firm Meltwater saw around 12 mentions across social platforms, with 0% positive sentiments and 16.7% negative sentiments. Keywords associated with the plastic ban include "抽盲盒", "lottery" and "adaption period". 

A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw on Donki's Facebook that some netizens have playfully referred to the new packaging as a "sushi blind box," while some have expressed concerns about the potential impact on consumer appeal if the quality of the sushi cannot be visually assessed.

In response, The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) said on Facebook that supermarkets primarily engaged in retail operations can continue using plastic containers and lids to package takeaway sushi, similar to restaurants.

This allows customers to easily distinguish the quality and variety of the food, while customers are still able to consume sushi on-site within the supermarket premises.

Furthermore, the EPD said some restaurants have mistakenly believed that packaging food in plastic containers for takeout would be illegal under the new regulations.

It has clarified that packaging food for takeaway is not equivalent to dine-in service, and therefore, restaurants are still allowed to provide plastic cups and containers for takeaways. 

“We will visit restaurants and retail premises during the adjustment period to clarify the various practices mentioned above and to address any misunderstandings or areas of uncertainty they may have regarding the regulations,” the statement reads.

The post has received over 722 reactions, 404 comments and 162 shares. While some netizens said they still have uncertainties about the related law even after reading the post, some suggested that early collaboration and engagement with the industry would have been advantageous to ensure better understanding and smoother implementation of the regulations.

MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to the EPD for a statement. 

Don’t miss: LH Group ceases takeaway services for 4 sub brands following plastics ban

Last October, Hong Kong’s lawmakers passed a law to ban single-use plastic items. The ban will be introduced two phases, with the first regulations implemented on 22 April. In the first phase, the sale and distribution of plastic tableware will be banned, including polystyrene straws, stirrers, cutlery, plates, and cups. Those who breach the ban will be subject to a maximum fine of HK$100k.

Join us this coming 26 June for Content360 Hong Kong, a one-day-two-streams extravaganza under the theme of "Content that captivates". Get together with our fellow marketers to learn about AI in content creation, integration of content with commerce and cross-border targeting, and find the recipe for success within the content marketing world!

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