Coming Soon: Movie Snack Calories Attack! Scream!

movie theater snacksNational movie theater chains are out of control. They already charge us something insane like $7 for a medium popcorn, oversell tickets at astronomical prices ($12 for a ticket? Remember when it was like, $5??), and now, they're refusing to share their foods' nutritional info -- which clock in with numbers that are even more astronomical than the prices!

The FDA is expected to decide this week if movie theaters should have to post calorie counts for popcorn, pretzels, hot dogs, and other prepared foods sold in the cinema. (Of course, you can already look at the XXL size of M&Ms to see you'd be inhaling about as much as two meals' worth of calories and fat if you finish off the box.)

I don't understand why there's any question, or why it has taken government regulators this long to enforce this!


It's not like anyone's going to be forced to step away from purchasing the dump truck-sized popcorn. This is just about looking out for the health-conscious consumer -- or trying to help the consumer become a bit more health-conscious by offering them a little (okay, it's actually BIG) extra information. An educated consumer is an empowered one who can make smarter decisions about their health. Ignorance, on the other hand, isn't bliss. It's finding yourself having to buy bigger jeans.

Obviously, it's not the consumer who is going to lose out if this regulation is passed. (Lose weight? Maybe.) Movie theaters are just fighting it tooth and nail, because they're greedmeisters. They realize that if we see that a dinky looking medium popcorn has a calorie count in the quadruple digits, we might save our money to put toward a gym membership. (Seriously, can the next step be to put a cap on their ridiculous prices?!)

What makes it even more ironic is that they're trying to wiggle out of this FDA regulation by whining, "But we're not a chain restaurant!!!" (Fast food joints are required to give customers calorie info under federal healthcare law.) Well, they sure look like one as far as their profits are concerned.

The solution: Theaters should be required to display their calorie counts as a service to consumers. And if they're so ashamed, maybe they can try something other than a sugar-bomb and fat fest for once! Offer healthier foods.

They're worried consumers won't dig the idea. But too bad! They've gotta give it a shot. To consumers who have a bad attitude about healthier snacks, consider this. You might not initially adore air-popped popcorn or even something like 94% fat-free Orville Redenbacher type popcorn vs. the grease/butter/oil-packed kind. But if you care whatsoever about your health, well-being, and/or the size of your behind, you'll probably see the merit in opting for the former. As well as the merit in the FDA's proposal.

Shouldn't movie theaters have to provide nutritional info for their prepared food? Isn't it good to be in the know, or do you think ignorance is bliss?


Image via Nadia Hatoum/Flickr

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