`Movie Popcorn's Dramatic Twist - Olive Oil Times

Movie Popcorn's Dramatic Twist

By Nadine Cresswell-Myatt
May. 14, 2014 09:23 UTC

Palace Cinemas is the largest chain of art-house cin­e­mas in Australia, with 20 the­aters, employ­ing more than 500 peo­ple and sell­ing 3 – 4 mil­lion tick­ets per year. So it was no small deci­sion to use only olive oil to pop their pop­corn.

The cin­ema chain is owned by Antonio Zeccola who grew up in Muro Lucano, in Southern Italy’s Basilicata region and whose large fam­ily migrated to Australia in the early 1950s.

His Italian back­ground helps explain the pop­u­lar cin­e­ma’s many inno­va­tions such as their impor­tant pro­gram of for­eign film fes­ti­vals includ­ing the annual Lavazza Italian Film Festival, their serv­ing of qual­ity barista-made Italian cof­fees as well as the use of only olive oil in the mak­ing of their pop­corn.

Olive oil, after all, has always been the essen­tial com­po­nent of regional cook­ing in Basilicata.

Popping pop­corn using olive oil also turns what many peo­ple class as junk food” into a far health­ier option.

Popcorn in itself is good for you as it is whole grain, low in fat and a good source of fiber. But in cin­e­mas it is almost always popped in palm or coconut oil mak­ing it high in unhealthy sat­u­rated fats. For exam­ple a medium-sized serv­ing of pop­corn can have between 33 and 60 grams of sat­u­rated fat.

Using olive oil instead means pop­corn can be sig­nif­i­cantly lower in sat­u­rated fat.

Palace Cinema’s pop­corn was even rec­og­nized by Health Smart Magazine, win­ning the Smart Snack of the Year way back in 2008.

The Palace Cinema group has the logo Share our Passion.” One can only hope that more cin­e­mas will do just that, at least when it comes to adopt­ing this health­ier alter­na­tive of using olive oil in the prepa­ra­tion of their pop­corn. The mar­ket is huge and the pos­si­ble health ben­e­fits could be enor­mous.

According to the Popcorn Board, a trade group funded by U.S. pop­corn proces­sors, Americans con­sume 16 bil­lion quarts of pop­corn annu­ally — or 51 quarts per man, woman and child — with about 30 per­cent of that out­side the home in places like cin­e­mas. A sim­ple switch to using olive oil could be just the ticket.


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