Hungry vegans know better than to assume that any food is veg-friendly, and even simple ingredient queries sometime return uncertain answers. These movie theater snacks are tasty, readily available, and animal-by product free.
It’s the most traditional movie snack to munch on, and also the most sensory—from its scent that immediately entices, to its crisp, shamefully delicious taste, even down to the oily texture it leaves on gluttonous fingers. Movie theater popcorn offers none of the healthfulness that homemade air-popped corn can, but it’s the perfect occasional weekend treat. And, thankfully, it’s vegan-friendly. Don’t let the questionable, neon-colored “butter” topping deceive, because at national theater chains like AMC Theaters and Cinemark, popcorn is totally vegan. At AMC Theaters, they even pop gluten-free, trans-fat free popcorn kernels in coconut oil. Cinemark contend that the golden color of its popcorn is due to the beta-carotene-rich canola oil used to cook it. While most chains use similar ingredients in their popcorn, it’s always a good idea to ask if you’re not sure.
Where better than a dark movie theater to devour an entire box of candy? Extra points for finishing before the credits are through. Classic, vegan-friendly options include an array of “fruity” standards such as Dots, JuJuBees, and JujyFruits. Newer fare includes Skittles (veganized in early 2009), Swedish Fish, Twizzlers, and Sour Patch Kids. Most national chains should carry many of these options, and maybe something even sweeter. And according to Bob Shimmin, vice-president of food, beverage, and amusements for Cinemark, certain theater locations serve at least one or two flavors of vegan sorbet.
For some, savory snacks hands-down beat sweet treats. For vegans with saltier palettes, wonder on up to the concession stand and order a soft pretzel. At most national chains, including AMC Theaters, soft pretzels are a cruelty-free way to satisfy a salt fix. SuperPretzel pretzels are a popular—and totally vegan brand used at many theaters. If pretzels don’t do the trick, there is always a less exciting but equally savory tray of chips sans the nacho cheese. For a little extra kick ask the man behind the concession stand to add a healthy scoop of jalapeño peppers slices.
It’s no secret that soda fountains are vegan-friendly, always available, and very predictable. If no movie snacks sound appealing then at least splurge for a movie theater thirst quencher. While they may just be cups of frosty sugar, childhood favorites like Slushies and Icees offer tasty alternative snacks in the hotter summer months. Cool down with flavors like white cherry, blue raspberry, and orange dream. Many theaters also now offer more healthful options. At many Cinemark locations, patrons can choose from a variety of beverage options including Vitaminwater, Fuze, Tazo teas, and coffee.
While theaters do offer a surprising variety of options for vegans, almost none of them are healthy or ethical. For moviegoers that consider either or both of these things paramount to happy-snacking, the answer is clear: smuggle it past security. Healthier options like Popchips, Newman’s Own Organics pretzels, and Endangered Species Chocolate bars are available at most grocery stores. The plan is simple: think ahead, make purchases accordingly, dress for the occasion (two words: big pockets), sit back, and enjoy your movie snacks.