Soy at the Movies

Hello! Welcome to Beyond Soy!

A movie theater is a cool retreat from these hot summer days, and it can easily be a soy-free experience! Obviously, the act of going to the movie theater doesn’t involve soy, but there could be soy in the movie snacks, so you’ll need to be a bit careful. Most movie theaters prohibit outside snacks and, while this doesn’t keep people from sneaking food inside, it is possible to buy a soy-free snack from the concessions stand for your movie. 

 Movie Snacks Can Be Soy-Free - IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

Movie Snacks Can Be Soy-Free - IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

For better or worse, lots of candy is soy-free! Chocolate candy usually contains soy lecithin, but fruity options are almost always safe to eat. Since movie theater candy is often served in its packaging, it is straightforward to check for soy. You can ask to see the box of candy to check the ingredients before purchasing it. However, since specific candy brands are so identifiable, it is easy to do this research ahead of time either at home or while waiting in line. Conducting a quick ingredient check online will save you time and hassle at the counter when ordering. Ashley takes this a step further: she’s identified a few very common brands of candy that are always soy-free (Starbursts are her favorite). Now she knows that she can always order these brands of candy without worrying about soy, and she does check the ingredients before eating them just to make sure that they remain soy-free.

Recently, while were at the movies, we found a candy vending machine that dispensed loose candy into cups that you could then bring into the theater. It was pretty cool, but it wasn’t possible to check any ingredients. We decided to get a cup of candy, but had to make sure that the candy we purchased was soy-free. We knew that several of the candy varieties they offered were soy-free and then we did some quick internet research about a few others before making our selection. Thanks to our knowledge and research we were able to eat a cup of soy-free candy during our movie.

Unlike candy, popcorn isn’t prepackaged and doesn’t have consistent ingredients. Without doing some on-the-spot research, it is unclear if movie theater popcorn is soy-free. There are two main areas of concern: the oil used for popping and the butter and flavoring placed on top. The oil used to pop the kernels may be soybean oil, which means that the popcorn would contain small amounts of soy and we’d recommend against eating it. While the presence of soybean oil is a deal-breaker, the good news is that it is pretty easy to ask what kind of oil the concessions stand uses for their popcorn. After asking about the oil, and determining that it is soy-free, the other hurdle is the butter and flavoring. Given their processed nature, these toppings likely contain soy, but it can be very difficult to say for certain if soy is present. It is even possible for soy to be present in these items without being on the ingredient list. If soy is present in any “natural flavorings” used, it may not be on the ingredient list. So even reading through the flavoring ingredients isn’t a guarantee that the butter and flavorings are soy-free. To be safe, we’d recommend asking for popcorn without any butter or toppings (salt is okay!) if you determine that the oil is okay.

 Be careful of popcorn toppings, they might contain soy - IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

Be careful of popcorn toppings, they might contain soy - IMAGE VIA PIXABAY

In addition to candy and popcorn, we’ve seen more and more movie theaters offer a more extensive menu with full meals and even beer and wine. For more extensive offerings, approach the menu as you would at a restaurant: make smart choices about the five places to find soy and don’t be afraid to ask about ingredients. Looking up the menu before going to the theater is a great option to select a soy-free dish or narrow down the food options you are interested in ordering.

When you are looking to cool off in the summer, head to the movie theater where a soy-free snack during your film awaits!