AMC Theaters Add ‘Healthy’ Foods

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NEW YORK (MainStreet) — AMC theaters around the country are finally introducing a healthier foods at concession stands, or at least as healthy as one can expect to find in a movie theater.

The new food options, which AMC calls Smart MovieSnacks, include Chiquita fruit snacks made with 100% fruit, a chocolate chip trail mix from Odwalla that boasts raisins, coconuts and sunflower seeds, a popcorn alternative made with all-natural ingredients and bottles of Dasani water. All of this together will cost consumers $7.

Needless to say, eating snacks with chocolate chips is still not quite as healthy as being able to choose from salads and organic foods. Moreover, it’s a little disconcerting that any chain would consider Dasani to be part of a health food initiative. (It’s just water, guys, every store sells it.) Nonetheless, the move still represents a big step forward for the entertainment chain.

"We know there are occasions - and dietary reasons - when guests want more options beyond traditional concession fare,” said George Patterson, senior vice president of food and beverage at AMC. “AMC Smart MovieSnacks is an innovative way to provide guests a variety of quality branded products in a convenient bundle. We think they will love it."

The move comes at a time when food vendors around the country are adapting to changing consumer demands for healthy foods, not to mention government pressure to help customers make better nutritional decisions. The Food and Drug Administration, for example, recently proposed new regulations that would require calorie counts on menus at all restaurant chains and vending machines, a move that has been rumored to apply to movie theater concession stands as well.

Movie theaters in particular have been criticized for filling consumers with unhealthy foods. One 2009 study from the Center for Science in the Public Interest found that a medium combo meal sold at Regal theaters contained nearly a full day’s worth of calories and the same amount of saturated fats as consuming an entire stick of butter.

Compared to that, a chocolate chip trail mix with coconuts and sunflower seeds sounds pretty good. And at $7 total, it proves to be a better deal than most everything else you'll find on the menu at a typical movie theater.

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