China has officially launched a new version of "Clean Your Plate Campaign" flagged by Chinese President Xi Jinping, sparking speculation that the world's most populous country faces food crisis following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi earlier said that food wastage was shocking and distressing, and that it is necessary to further enhance public awareness of the issue, cultivate thrifty habits and foster a social environment where waste is shameful and thriftiness is good.
"Different from the previous campaign, the 2.0 version calls for the public to stop wasting food," state-run Global Times reported on Thursday.
After he took over power in 2012, Xi in an image-building exercise banned luxury banquets with liquor, especially for the military which has been asked not to waste food and feed on leftovers and keep away from fancy food during official banquets.
Following Xi's message that China had to "maintain a sense of crisis about food security", the Wuhan Catering Industry Association urged restaurants in the city to limit the number of dishes served to diners - implementing a system where groups must order one dish less than the number of diners, the BBC reported.
So under this system dubbed "N-1", a group of 10 people can only order nine dishes.