A trip to the cinema is now almost the same thing as going wholesale junk-food shopping

To the sugar epicurean, what's happening on the screen is of only incidental interest

Share
Related Topics

On the same day I discovered that Britain has a higher percentage of obese adults than any other European country, I went to the cinema (to see the new Woody Allen film, since you ask). It was the Odeon in Oxford, an establishment just like hundreds of others throughout the land. And, like everywhere else, if you wanted a sweet treat, or a soft drink, to take in with you as an accompaniment to Woody's sharp social observation, you had to buy it in wholesale quantities. Cartons of popcorn as voluminous as coal bunkers; cardboard cups of Coca Cola the size of milk churns.

This is a land of Brobdingnagian portions, where regular means enormous and large means... well, frankly absurd. You could consume your entire daily allowance of calories before the trailers had finished. So it was with some interest that I noticed, as I was queuing up, a standard-sized tube of Smarties. Perfect. And how sensible, I thought. I can't be the only cinema goer in the country who finds the size of the usual offerings off-putting, and at last they're giving us something more manageable and, indeed, appetising.

Not only that, here's an entertainment conglomerate which is taking the obesity epidemic seriously, and deciding to downsize rather than supersize. So with my little tube of Smarties, I made my way to the till. The server looked at me incredulously. Are you serious? She explained that the Smarties were not on sale. What? Well, not quite. They weren't on sale on their own. They could only be bought as a package which included a soft drink and a pantechnicon-sized box of popcorn. But I don't want the popcorn, I said. You have to have the popcorn, she said. And so it went on, rather like, appropriately enough given the setting, the scene in Five Easy Pieces when a young Jack Nicholson is trying to order a chicken salad sandwich without the salad. And indeed the chicken.

Hold the popcorn, I said, I just want the Smarties. (By this time, I would willingly have paid £5 for my perfectly-proportioned snack.) So far from instituting a regime to strike a blow against obesity, Odeon appeared to be doing the opposite. Yes, you can have a lovely little tube of Smarties. But only if you eat your own body weight in popcorn.

It is hard enough to navigate one's path through the maze of sugary temptations - did you know that a typical coffee frappuccino contains half the recommended daily amount of sugar? - without trouble being put in our way by a cinema chain with an eye on its bottom line, no matter what it does to the bottoms of the nation. A friend of mine told me that she used to go to a picture house in America - the land of the free, and the home of the obese - where they sold carrot sticks. Can you imagine that? You're trying to concentrate on Cate Blanchett's tour de force and there's someone chomping carrots in your ear. It's as much of a nightmare as someone holding up the queue arguing over a tube of Smarties.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Mosul dam was retaken with the help of the US  

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Robert Fisk
 

Next they'll say an independent Scotland can't use British clouds...

Mark Steel
Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape