Willing to Trade Buttery Popcorn for a Granola Bar at the Movies?

The head of Sony Pictures said earlier this week that movie theaters should offer healthier snacks to help fight obesity and give audiences a broader range of food choices.

With the movie industry achieving record revenues last year, despite a record recession, Michael Lynton, chairman and chief executive officer for Sony, told theater owners at their annual ShoWest convention this week in Las Vegas that a survey by the studio at 26 theaters nationwide found that two-thirds of movie-goers said they would be likely to buy healthy concessions if available. 

The survey found that 60 percent of parents thought that healthier concessions would enhance the moviegoing experience and that 42 percent of parents would buy concessions at theaters more often if healthier choices were offered, Lynton said. 

“I don’t mean close the window for popcorn, soda and candy. Audiences love them and should always be able to buy them at your theaters,” Lynton said in the keynote address as the four-day movie convention opened. 

“I can almost imagine the Romans eating popcorn and drinking Coke at the Coliseum 2,000 years ago. Or the Greeks munching on Sno-Caps at the Theatre of Dionysus in Athens,” said Lynton. 

But “by bringing healthier snacks into your concession stands, you would be helping our country meet an urgent public health need,” Lynton said. 

According to Lynton, healthier food selections suggested by those surveyed include fruit cups, vegetables with dip, yogurt, granola bars, baked chips and unbuttered, air-popped popcorn. 

Lynton said the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, launched by former President Bill Clinton and the American Heart Association to fight childhood obesity, has offered to help advise theaters on healthier concession items.

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