When you go to see “Star Wars VII: the Force Awakens” at a Regal Cinema next year you will have the choice of watching it with a 960 calorie large tub of popcorn (with optional 260 calories “buttery” topping), a 500 calories 54 ounces soda, a 650 calories hot dog or perhaps a 716 calories nachos with cheese. Or if you prefer Marcus Theatres’ Big Screen Bistro, perhaps a glass of Sycamore Lane Chardonnay at 123 calories with a 12″ Pepperoni Special pizza at 215 calories per slice or 1,720 for the whole pizza.
That is because from 1 December 2015 all US grocery and convenience stores, fast food restaurants, amusement parks and, yes, cinemas with 20 or more locations will be required to display calorie information next to each item on their menu. This is the result of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration rule linked to the Affordable Care Act, also known as ‘Obamacare’.
Here is what the FDA News Release had to say on the issue:
The menu labeling final rule applies to restaurants and similar retail food establishments if they are part of a chain of 20 or more locations, doing business under the same name and offering for sale substantially the same menu items. Covered food establishments will be required to clearly and conspicuously display calorie information for standard items on menus and menu boards, next to the name or price of the item. Seasonal menu items offered for sale as temporary menu items, daily specials and condiments for general use typically available on a counter or table are exempt from the labeling requirements.
The menu labeling final rule also requires covered establishments to provide, upon consumer request and as noted on menus and menu boards, written nutrition information about total calories, total fat, calories from fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugars and protein.
Vending machines have an additional year to comply with these requirements. But are cinemas ready for this?