Hong Kong people love giving mooncakes to others but apparently hate it when others give mooncakes to them, a survey by Green Power has found.

Mooncakes are round or square pastries which typically contain yolks from salted duck eggs, sweet bean paste or nuts and seeds. They have proven to be very popular presents to give others for the Mid Autumn Festival but unwelcome items in the diet of health-conscious Hongkongers.

Traditional mooncakes. Photo: Wikipedia Commons

Green Power interviewed over 660 people last month and found that 69 percent of them did not like receiving mooncakes, among whom 20 percent said they “strongly dislike” it. Interestingly, almost exactly the same percentage of people – 68 percent – said they like giving the traditional delicacies as presents.

“Ice skin” mooncakes by Maxim.

The NGO said Hong Kong threw away nearly 1.85 million mooncakes last year, meaning every household discarded 0.76 mooncakes on average. The number represented a 20% increase compared to 2013. But the situation had improved compared to a decade ago, when even more cakes were discarded, according to Green Power’s press release.

Häagen-Dazs mooncakes.

The survey showed Hong Kong families plan to buy an average of 2.5 boxes of mooncakes this year, mostly for giving as gifts.

Mooncakes are high calorie foods. In 2014, the Consumer Council said a double-yolk mooncake can contain as many as 820 kilocalories. In recent years, mooncakes have evolved to include many different flavours such as fruit, chocolate and ice cream. Healthier ones made of jelly fillings have also been developed.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.