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LH Group ceases takeaway services for 4 sub brands following plastics ban

LH Group ceases takeaway services for 4 sub brands following plastics ban

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In response to Hong Kong's ban on single-use plastics, which took effect yesterday (22 April), local restaurant group LH Group's (叙福樓) four major brands, including Gyu-Kaku (牛角), Gyu-Kaku Buffet (牛角 Buffet), Mou Mou Club (牛涮鍋), and On-Yasai (牛涮鍋), have completely ceased their takeaway services.

Simon Wong, chairman and CEO, LH Group, announced on his Facebook page that the four brands have completely ceased takeaway services and will focus solely on dine-in options. “Since our takeaway business is not substantial anyway, going completely plastic-free will eliminate any inconvenience,” he said. 

His post has garnered over 4.6k likes, 170 comments, and 106 shares. While some netizens praised it as a wise decision, others expressed suspicions that the plastic-free initiative was aimed at promoting dine-in and discouraging takeaway services.

This morning (23 April), Wong made another Facebook post addressing the group's decision. He clarified that their intention was not to take a soft stance or oppose plastic-free initiatives. Instead, he hoped to let everyone know that there are many ways to reduce the use of single-use plastic, such as dining in or using reusable utensils at home or in the office for takeaway meals.

“It depends on your personal circumstances and making choices that come from the heart. Otherwise, if you buy an expensive set of utensils only to dispose of them, it may seem legal on the surface but it's even less environmentally friendly,” he said.

“I've also noticed that many people exaggerate the issue as if it's the end of the world. It's not. Simply dining in already solves the problem. The key is to find what works best for you,” he added.

After the ban on single-use plastics was implemented, many restaurants offering takeout services have switched to using wooden cutlery or paper-based alternatives. Additionally, restaurants are no longer allowed to provide plastic disposable gloves free of charge.

Social sentiments regarding the ban

The ban has also drawn mixed reactions from netizens. There has been a significant number of netizens expressing their dissatisfaction with these alternatives on social media. They find it challenging to adapt and have reported having an unpleasant experience with paper or wooden utensils.

A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE saw on Facebook group “422『齊走塑』環保消息關注組” that netizens have shared the challenges they encounter when using paper utensils to eat takeaway food. Some expressed difficulties in using paper-made spoons to scoop up rice, while others have reported that certain eateries use paper bowls which become deformed upon arrival due to being soaked in soup.

Media intelligence firm CARMA saw over 731 mentions about Hong Kong's ban on single-use plastics across social platforms since the awards, with 9.3% positive sentiments and 15.7% negative sentiments.

Meanwhile, social monitoring firm Meltwater saw over 365 mentions across social platforms, with 3.6% positive sentiments and 3% negative sentiments. Keywords associated with the plastic ban include "creative packaging solutions", "government" and "food and beverage industry". 

Meanwhile, online media outlet 100 Most has created a trendjacking post discussing the significance of using paper-made utensils. “When you feel like you're worthless, please don't forget the existence of paper spoons, paper forks, and paper cup lids,” the post reads. It has received over 73.4 likes and 332 comments. 

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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