We all know that movie theater concession stands are expensive. But stocking up on candy from the rack and popcorn from the counter is a guilty pleasure of mine, even though, yes, I know I can get all of it for so much cheaper from the store. AMC Theatres understands all too well that the candy comes with some amount of sticker shock for customers, so the chain has found a way to sell it to us for a little cheaper: by creating its own private-label candy.
Why AMC is releasing its own candy brand
AMC revealed this little tidbit of information via its Q1 earnings call on May 8, and as you’d expect, the move is all about money. Adam Aron, Chairman and CEO of AMC Theatres, said that wholesale brand-name candy companies have begun charging AMC up to 33% more for their products due to supply chain shortages. Here’s what Aron said, in part:
That got us thinking very hard about our candy, and we realized that we could manufacture a private-label brand of candy to very high-quality standards, price it less expensively than our current candy is priced, and have a higher profit margin because our cost to manufacture the private-label brand is so much less than the normal brands that you’ve seen in our previous three years.
Slipped in there is the fact that the cheaper manufacturing costs would net AMC higher profit margins, so this isn’t entirely an altruistic move to save moviegoers money.
Aron explained that the brand-name candy isn’t going away—instead, there will simply be more choices at various price points for customers craving sweets. Knowing how people are drawn to discounts, I’m fairly confident the house-brand stuff will sell at a decent clip. Assuming it doesn’t suck.
When is AMC-brand candy coming out?
There was no specific date mentioned on the Q1 earnings call about when this AMC candy might go into production, but Aron gave a rough timeframe.
“I’m going to hold out for late ’23 that we can introduce a private label brand of popular candies, in our theaters, offer them to consumers at a lower price and achieve a higher profitability in doing so,” he said.
This is all seemingly part of a snack-forward strategy on the part of AMC, which began selling its own branded premade and microwave popcorn at Walmart nationwide this past March. As Aron noted on the call, once the popcorn became available at retail locations, “sales were brisk. In fact, so much so that most of the Walmarts sold out of their initial supply.”
Considering how expensive the moviegoing experience has become, any sort of price cut would be a welcome change. Besides, if this candy is done right, you might not even notice the difference as you reach into the bag in the dark. I’m sure none of this will stop some people from sneaking food into the theater (ahem), but if the price is right, some of us might just make the switch.