A looming U.S. mandate that requires chain restaurants with at least 20 U.S. locations to post the calorie content of menu items is facing some serious opposition from movie theaters and grocery stores.
Why their concern? According to a report out of BusinessWeek, theater chains such as the well known Regal Entertainment Group make up to 1/3 of their annual revenue from their concessions. Imagine having to order that batch of popcorn and be reminded that you could be consuming upwards of 1,460 calories, depending on the size you order. The calorie count of popcorn at several major theatre chains was observed by The Center for Science in the Public Interest in 2009 to achieve these statistics. Popcorn calorie counts stood between 370 calories to 1,460 calories dependent upon your bag size and toppings.
The question still stands, should theater chains be exempt of posting calorie count on their concession menus?
An exemption would overlook the fact that consuming a Big Mac meal at McDonald's with medium Fries and Drink would pack less of a caloric punch than a theatergoer indulging in a large popcorn with butter. That doesn't even count the drink that a theatergoer will inevitably get when faced with a salty snack.
Such comparisons raise valid discussion points, and while some may advocate that theater revenues are largely based upon concession items, is that a fair argument for exemption considering restaurant chains have approximately 100% of their revenue based upon edible items?