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TOPIC: Popcorn that doesn't kill people?

Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 20 Feb 2012 15:47 #37888

I own a theater. I have a lot of repeat customers. These customers do not buy popcorn except on rare occasions. I've tried discounts, combos, you name it, and they simply aren't interested. When I began speaking to a few customers, they said the reason they don't buy popcorn is because it is very unhealthy. One person said, "I would buy more popcorn if I knew it didn't kill people."

I've done some reading, and actually when prepared right, popcorn can be a very healthy snack.

My question to you guys is, have any of you tried to make a healthier, non-lethal popcorn? What strategies did you use?

Is anyone air-popping the corn in their concession stand?
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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 20 Feb 2012 17:58 #37889

  • Mike
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I don't buy this for a moment. Popcorn is still the # 1 seller above all other movie snacks. Popped corn without topping? That's lethal? Compared to what? A salad with balsamic vinegar? If you are dealing with customers who are vegan non drinkers you have a problem in the snack department. Theatre popcorn is not lethal.And lastly: does anyone like air popped popcorn?
Michael Hurley
Last Edit: 20 Feb 2012 17:59 by Mike.
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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 20 Feb 2012 17:58 #37890

  • revrobor
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I have never heard that popcorn is unhealthy. In fact I've heard a number of nutritionists and doctors say just the opposite. I suppose it's possible for a customer to pile extra butter and salt on it to make is unhealthy. I think you customers need to sort out the info they have heard.
Bob Allen
The Old Showman
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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 21 Feb 2012 19:21 #37894

  • lstewart
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I've also recently heard that popcorn is killing people. After doing some research, I have come to find out that it's the cottonseed oil used in making popcorn that is the basis for the claim. Apparently cottonseeds are sprayed with pesticides since cottonseeds are grown for producing non-edible products and there are no restrictions on the pesticides used. Who knew???
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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 22 Feb 2012 18:04 #37900

  • lionheart
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I don't know if any theater uses cottonseed oil. I used coconut oil. I thought that was what most theaters use. Coconut oil got a bad rap, and many people said it was bad for you, but there are recent reports that it's actually good for you. I saw one report somewhere recently that said coconut oil may help with Alzheimer's Disease. There are certain esthers in it that aren't available from any other natural source. One lady pediatrician treated her husband with regular daily doses of coconut oil in his food and his alzheimer's started improving. After a couple of years, he could again read and do other basic things that he had lost the ability to do. For now, this is only anecdotal evidence, but at least it seems that coconut oil is good not bad.
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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 24 Feb 2012 17:07 #37917

  • scwforever
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I think about ever 6 months the news likes to run a story and compare calories of popcorn to say a "big Mac", or fries...and ends up scaring people for about 5 minutes on the number of calories in popcorn. then when they get tired of running stories on calories on popcorn, they like to start in on "Are your children seeing "r" rated movies without you know it....that is always my favorite "undercover story".

Sometimes I get tired of "what's good for you, and what not good". One day red wine if bad, now its good for the heart.

I don't think popcorn is unhealthy, but some folks do have a concern what oil is being used. Maybe you should have a free small popcorn wednesday...let them try it...let them experience popcorn all over again...

i have to giggle when I hear "popcorn is killing people"...all I picture is little popped kernels of corn jumping out of the popper, sneaking up on people as they watch a movie with a weeeeee little knife....." perhaps I have a cool short film i need to start working on....

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Re: Popcorn that doesn't kill people? 25 Feb 2012 16:59 #37928

  • rodeojack
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This kind of stuff comes up every two or three years or so... popcorn will kill you... hot dogs will kill you. Municipal tap water, served at anything below room temperature will kill you (and even faster if it's fluoridated). Be sure to hold your pinkie out when you drink that nasty stuff!

I read most about major resistance to popcorn in movie theatres that serve "discerning patrons", frequently in upscale areas. Most of the time this comes up, it's an indie house... more rarely, a place that runs mainstream stuff.

Here's the other side of the scale. I have a 3-screen drive-in, located in a predominately military area with a sprinkling of high-tech. The place has always been well supported by its community, but much more so since the owners (us) actually paid attention to what the community would turn out for.

We cook our corn traditionally... Generous use of coconut oil, flavacol, "buttery topping" (not the junk stuff).

We have two full-sized poppers, one at each end of our counter. On the weekends, they're both going full tilt.

Only rarely does anyone ask how I make my corn, and I'll tell them exactly how its done if they ask. No real risk there... the popper has as much to do with how it turns out as the ingredients (which they can get locally, if they really want to). Coconut oil... yellow number 5, salt (Flavacol). In every case, our customer has asked for a large.

If you search for awhile, you can find at least one web site that will tell you anything you search about will kill you. Sure, popcorn is no different. The problem is more likely to do with the environment external to the product, because in most places, most people really like the stuff.

On airpopping: Yah... that's been tried. Back when somebody decided Canola oil was better, airpopping also cropped up as an alternative. Some theatres put dividers in their popcorn warmers, so different types could be offered. The airpopped stuff only remained "healthy" if you didn't turn around and pour topping over it. Nothing special about that... tasted pretty much like what you could make in smaller batches at home. Canola oil made concession areas smell like fish... so much so, that some theatres moved their popping operations away from the concessions & brought the corn to their warmers in large food bags. Only the most devout health nuts would buy it and even then, usually when they were being closedly observed by their health-nut friends.

Eventually, the mainstream theatres abandoned all that stuff, took out the dividers and went back to tradionally-prepared corn.

If you have a classy theatre, serving an audience with highly discriminating tastes, then you may have a challenge on your hands. However, if you keep your head to the ground, you'll learn what they like to snack on. Specialized goodies just might have to be a way of life for you.
Last Edit: 25 Feb 2012 17:12 by rodeojack.
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