Smart Movie Snacking vs Portion Controls


Popcorn
Image via Wikipedia

I was reading Calories in AMC’s New Smart Movie Snacks by Letta Shy, on FitSugar regarding the new AMC Smart Movie Snack. For those of you who haven’t heard, AMC theaters are offering a pack which includes fruit chips, a trail mix bar, POPCorners corn chips (they are awesome), and a bottle of water.  The water can be substituted for a Diet Coke or a Coke Zero.  So the big question on everyone’s mind: is anyone going to buy the Smart Snacks?

I am all for healthy snacking. I have been known to snack on almonds, trail mix, or even dry cereal when I watch a movie on my couch. I think it is great to have a healthy option available for people to munch on.

Did you know that the large buttered popcorn option at the theater equals 1,500 calories? Neither did I. Most people don’t know that, and according to the New York Times, few will be made aware of that fact since the FDA is NOT requiring movie theaters to post calorie counts of snack in their chains.

M&Ms - melt in my mouth, not in my hands, but only a proper serving!

My question is, why do movie theaters offer vats of popcorn, gallon size sodas, and quarter pound bags of candy as snack to begin with? Why is there even an option to mindlessly eat 20 cups of popcorn, the equivlant of a full day’s worth of calories, while sitting on your ass over the course of 90-360 minutes? Another fun fact, a serving of M&M candies is 1.67oz, equal to the amount you would find in a vending machine bag of M&M. A movie theater bag of M&Ms is 5.3oz, over three times larger! Why can’t movie theaters offer a more rational serving size for the movie goer to enjoy?

What do you think about the new snacks? Do you think it would be more effective to regulate the servings available?

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4 thoughts on “Smart Movie Snacking vs Portion Controls”

  1. Ah yes, that question. In short, it boils down to the fact that it’s in a theater company’s fiscal interest to not bite the hand that feeds it. Essentially, the theater corporations that show films don’t make much, if any, money with tickets. (Last time the numbers were relevant to me, a film company took 75% of the ticket price, plus a guarantee with a 6-week-to-2-month month commitment to run any new releases.) Which means they can either charge $50+ per movie ticket or gauge the prices of snacks. The cheapest snacks are corn products (popcorn to high fructose corn syrup) because they are subsidized by American tax payer monies and, if you are given massive quantities of food, you’ll feel less ripped off when paying literally 4 times *retail* price (keep in mind, theaters buy wholesale) for the food items you purchase at the concession counter. The FDA’s interest is in keeping the loudest lobbyists happy, in this case it’s the corn lobby. (You will note the only item available in a movie theater that does not have some corn product in it would be water.) Subsequently, corn products get as much of a free pass as possible from the FDA (deregulation has morphed the FDA from a regulatory agency paid for by the tax payer to paid for by the corporations it evaluates and the FDA’s priorities have plainly shifted according to their new employers’ priorities). Theaters latch on to the latest trends and the “health” craze has become trendy because of Michelle Obama. You will note, however, most of the items on that menu still cater to the corn lobby.

    1. The fruit crisps are 40-70 calories a serving, the trail mix bar has 200, the popcorn chips have 140 Calories per serving in the butter flavored option. Twizzlers have 249 in every 2.5oz

  2. “Vats of popcorn? ” People don’t feel they got their money’s worth if the portion isn’t huge, they aren’t stuffed and their pants aren’t popping at the seams….

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