Taiwan theaters change food policy

Audiences can bring in certain outside foods

In the eternal battle between moviehouses and moviegoers over snacks and prohibited carry-ins, Taiwan hopes to broker an amicable accord.

Moviegoers resent the inflated prices of theater snacks, and many resort to sneaking in food and drinks of their own. But with the revenues from hot dogs and colas often the difference between profit and loss, hardtop operators typically enforce a ban on bringing in consumables.

In Taiwan, however, the Consumer Protection Commission recently said that such across-the-board bans are invalid. That has forced the Government Information Office, which regulates the movie industry locally, to require theaters to be specific about which outside foods they bar.

Cinemas must post notices listing prohibited provisions — such as smelly tofu, fried chicken or soup. And they must provide areas for patrons to finish off their outside chow before entering the theater or create places for customers to leave food for pickup after the show.

Alas, while such measures may make consumer rights orgs feel they’ve achieved something, it will do nothing to stop noisy munching or the stale buttery smell from the consumption of multiplex-made popcorn.

Nor will it stop suspicions that the lists of banned items are little more than protectionist measures aimed at favoring official foyer fare.

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