The FDA is reportedly set to announce a decision that would force movie theater operators to post calorie counts next to their items in the same way that restaurant chains must. Not surprisingly, the theater owners are popping mad about this possibility.
According to a piece in today’s L.A. Times, the National Association of Theatre Owners has been lobbying the FDA and congressional staff members to exempt movie theaters from the nutritional labeling requirement.
“We’re not restaurants where people go to eat and satisfy themselves,” the group’s general counsel told the paper. “It’s dinner and a movie, not dinner at a movie.”
Of course, movie theater food is often more expensive than dinner… and profitable for the theater chains.
The Times quotes the CFO of Regal Entertainment Group as saying, “We sell a bucket of popcorn for about $6. Our cost in that $6 bucket of popcorn is about 15 cents or 20 cents. So if that cost doubles, it doesn’t really hurt me that much.”
But it might be hurting the people that eat the popcorn. A 2009 study by the spoilsports at the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that a large popcorn serving contained upward of 1,460 calories, almost as much as downing three Big Macs (approx. 1,600 calories).
Should theaters have to post calorie counts just like everyone else, or is movie theater food somehow different than restaurant food?