Culinary cinema

Watching what we eat

22.02.2016

Cinema habits are changing, and the food we choose to eat there is changing too.
Sarah Daykin

With a vast array of mainstream multiplexes, boutique chains and vintage independents, consumers can now be more selective than ever of the films they watch, and where they choose to watch them.

Gone are the days of ordering just a hotdog, popcorn and fizzy drink at your local theatre. As consumers seek greater choice, cinemas have upped their game when it comes to the theatre dining experience.

Odeon, for example, offers ‘The Lounge’ - a luxury cinema where consumers can order lavish cocktails and fine food straight to their seats. Boutique chain Everyman opened its very own restaurant in Maida Vale, with a menu offering the ‘Spielburger and chips’ - a foodie-spin on the traditional cinema experience. Meanwhile, at the Phoenix in East Finchley, there’s a café-bar providing freshly baked cakes and arguably the best hot chocolate in town - courtesy of Kokoa Collection.

If consumers can choose to tailor their cinema dining experience not only by venue but also by film genre, why wouldn’t they enjoy Marvel’s Deadpool with a beer and a plate of nachos? Trumbo with a glass of merlot and marinated olives, or Pixar’s Inside Out with an ice cold Coca-Cola and a Haagen-Dazs mini pot?

With the British Film Institute’s latest Research and Statistics report showing that in 2015, cinema admissions increased to 171.9 million, 9% on 2014, and UK box office takings increased to their highest level of £1, 240 million, 17% on the previous year, cinema has positioned itself as a lucrative market for FMCG brands to get involved in.

Coca-Cola has already taken this on board and introduced ‘Freestyle’ machines in some cinemas, giving consumers the chance to quite literally mix and match their drinks. Metcalfe’s skinny popcorn partnered with Odeon in 2014 in a conscious move to bring healthier snacks to cinemas, and Lavazza joined forces with Vue to provide cinema go-ers with a coffee experience to further stimulate the senses before and after the cinema-going experience.

With an ever growing cinema audience and greater demand for choices, perhaps now is the time for more brands to start thinking outside the popcorn box.

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