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China's $1.9 Billion Mooncake Industry

Vietnam might consume a lot of mooncakes during the mid-autumn festival, but it has nothing on China.

The country of over one billion has more than 10,000 mooncake manufacturers which produce over 280,000 metric tons of the holiday staple annually, valued at $1.9 billion according to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council. 2 million of the cakes end up in the garbage each year.

The cakes are notorious for their elaborate, and many argue, wasteful packaging. They often come in tins, containing individual tins for each cake and are wrapped in plastic. “It’s unnecessary for packaging to be so complicated,” said Henry Lui of Green Power.

Lavish boxes are sold for as much as $100 though the quality of the cakes remain the same no matter the packaging. Due to their high numbers, many mooncakes go uneaten and are given to charity, fed to pets and even grinded to make hair products.

The Hong Kong nonprofit St James’ Settlement says that it receives over 10,000 mookcake donations annually.

We’re not sure if we should be impressed by the sheer scale or disappointed by the wasteful nature of the special cakes. While not a direct analogy, Americans throw away an estimated 35% of their turkeys on Thanksgiving.

[WSJ]

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