Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Health concessions: AMC to roll out "Smart MovieSnacks"

Posted By on Tue, Apr 5, 2011 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge AMCSmartMovieSnacks.jpg

The concession stand has been the one holdover from the indulgent past of movie theaters. It's a reminder that going to the movies on the weekends is special. It offers a chance to sit in the balcony and let a Junior Mint melt slowly on your tongue.

But today, even concessions can't withstand the changing mores of consumption. And while AMC Entertainment just discovered that it will not have to post calorie counts on its menus, the resulting negative public-relations fallout has likely led to the creation of "Smart MovieSnacks."

What are Smart MovieSnacks, besides awkwardly named? It's the newest combo pack from the Kansas City-based theater chain. For $7, moviegoers can get a package of Chiquita Fruit Chips, a 20-oz. Dasani water, an Odwalla Bar Chocolate Chip Trail Mix, and PopCorners all-natural, air-popped corn chips. If you're worried that it's all too healthful, you can also swap in a 20-oz. Diet Coke or Coke Zero fountain drink.

I can't blame AMC, which has been hammered for cranking out tubs of popcorn that can top 1,000 calories. And while, as recently as a few weeks ago, it looked as though AMC, along with other movie theaters, would have to post calorie counts above concession stands, the Food and Drug Administration limited the impact of last year's federal health-care law, as Moviefone explains:  

The Food and Drug Administration has tweaked the requirements and now only establishments where the primary objective is to sell food, or where more than half of the location's space is devoted to food sales, will be required to post the info. This means places like theaters, bowling alleys and carnivals are off the hook.
While posted calorie counts would be an obvious sign that the carefree days of going to the cinema are gone, the Smart MovieSnacks suggest that they've been gone for quite some time. Although I guess I'll truly be worried when people start sneaking in carrot sticks into the theater, instead of Taco Bell.

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