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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Want Butter on Those 664 Calories? Theater Chain Displays Snack Counts

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 3:58 PM

M. Brody
Snacking by the numbers: Useful information?

We don't usually stop at the concession stand when we go to the movies, preferring to sneak in our own treats, which cost less and taste better. (Show us the theater that offers seasonal fruit, BLTs, or Thornton red wine truffles at reasonable prices, and we'll stop smuggling.)

So it came as a surprise the other night when we noticed calorie counts on the overhead signage at the AMC in Emeryville, where we saw District 9. (Apologies for the picture quality: We had time to snap off only a few before a staffer politely asked us to stop.)

The counts seemed less than helpful. Bottled drinks clocked in at a range between 4 and 275 calories, ice cream between 120 and 500, and popcorn -- a range of 271 to 664 calories -- seemed calculated without buttery toppings. The information that nachos ran between 1,390 and 2,310 calories -- about what an inactive woman or man should consume in an entire day -- did give us pause. (As did the candy prices, between $3 and $4.25. Yikes.)

AMC manager of corporate communications Andy DiOrio confirmed what we suspected: The chain added calorie counts to conform with the California law (SB 1420) that obliges food sellers with at least 20 locations to make calorie counts available, effective June 30 of this year. (AMC is ahead of the game; counts aren't mandated for menu boards until 2010.) When asked if sales had been affected, DiOrio told SFoodie that "sales have continued as expected."

We forgot to ask him if AMC was working on inventing noiseless popcorn, our movie-going Holy Grail.

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Meredith Brody


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