Scoop to supply Mareel as popcorn machine is axed

Patrons of the Mareel arts centre will soon be tucking into locally-supplied snacks following a deal with Lerwick-based Scoop Wholefoods – but the venue’s popcorn machine is being mothballed.

It is expected that a range of Scoop’s goodies will be available from a re-designed Mareel front desk kiosk as of Thursday.

The venue has also decided to sell bags of Butterkist brand popcorn in the interests of “hygiene”, economy and offering customers more variety. However, the arts complex will not be getting rid of its popcorn machine, just in case there is a public demand for a return of the freshly-popped variety.

Mareel marketing manager Lauren Doughton said that the public would be able to choose from bags of buttered, salty, sweet or a cinema mix of all flavours and that the move had been made after people had requested different varieties.

She added that there would be less waste as it was difficult to gauge how much popcorn would be bought in any day, meaning Mareel was sometimes left with most of a batch. There should also be less mess with the pre-packaged product.

But “Friends of Mareel” will still be entitled to 10 per cent off their popcorn. “The membership schemes are still standing. It’s the method and packaging that are changing,” Ms Doughton added.

“We will be trying a few new things out and if the public do not like it, it does not mean we are committed to anything permanently.”

One of those changes is the introduction of snacks supplied by Scoop.

According to Ms Doughton Scoop became involved after customers had requested some of the treats that the shop has in store.

“These are healthier snacks and things people have been asking for since we opened. They should go down well with kids and adults,” she said.

Ann Johnson from Scoop Wholefoods
Ann Johnson from Scoop Wholefoods

Scoop will be supplying Bombay mix, chilli crackers, yoghurt raisins and nuts and dried fruit among other things.
Scoop owner Ann Johnson said that many people had dropped along the Toll Clock based shop to buy snacks before going to Mareel.

She added that she had been about to approach the arts centre about the possibility of doing business when she got a call from box office manager Wendy Tulloch to see if Scoop would be interested in supplying Mareel.

“I think it’s great that they are using a local source,” said Ms Johnson. “It’s really something positive and of course the public can now buy healthier snacks in the venue.”

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Add Your Comment
  • Michael Grant

    • September 15th, 2015 13:51

    Is this wind up,this will be the only cinema in the world not selling popcorn.

  • Sarah Jane

    • September 15th, 2015 18:42

    “Hygiene” – surely Mareel staff are not that dirty, makes me worry about the café!

    “Economy” – a quick Google search on popcorn cinema profit says somewhere between 400% and 800% markup, how can Mareel afford to give this up?

    “Cinemas are obliged to split money from ticket sales with the film studios, but get to keep almost all the cash they make from selling food. That means that the “concessions” (popcorn, sweets and the like) make up 20% of a cinema’s revenue but 40% of its profits. A box of popcorn is around 85% profit to the cinema, and salty foods of course encourage people to buy more soft drinks, increasing receipts further. “Without the hefty concession profits,” declared an article in Time a few years ago, “there would be no movie theater business”. The Guardian 7 March 2012

    “Less waste” – how shipping boxes of pre popped Butterkist to Shetland (bags of air in plastic packets) isn’t wasteful I don’t know what is!

    The nuts on sale are in good company. Just don’t get it – popcorn and cinema just goes together. So sad.

  • steven stove

    • September 15th, 2015 18:56

    Poor show Mareel packeted popcorn just is not the same. Now theirs a middle retailer how could this cut costs? Increase them more like and cut off what we liked.

  • Anne Brown

    • September 15th, 2015 22:05

    I was told by a member of staff today, that it was to reduce the number of fire brigade call outs. Apparently they keep burning their popcorn. The smell will be a miss.

  • roy h chamberlain

    • September 15th, 2015 22:54

    not convinced of the hygiene argument- cinemas south sell tons of fresh popcorn at every showing, making shed loadsa money

  • iantinkler

    • September 16th, 2015 8:42

    What about the promise to the “Friends of Mareel” ??? WE were promised 10% off Popcorn. This is another disingenuous piece of tripe from this lofty organisation. I am so glad I resisted the urge to spend £25.0 to become a “Friend of Mareel” and prop up this lame duck. Shame on you, loss of popcorn. Do we not suffer enough from “austerity cuts” without this massive blow to our “Art Heritage?”
    Reference (10% off popcorn:

  • Johan Adamson

    • September 16th, 2015 9:08

    A shame, reduces it to the North Star experience, but appreciate the high staff cost involved. Good to get more healthy snacks – is it impossible to do both?

  • James MacLeod

    • September 16th, 2015 10:44

    Absolutely typical of this whole Mareel debacle.

    I thought the “we know best” mentality of the management team would have disappeared with GG.

    Obviously not.

  • Brian Smith

    • September 16th, 2015 13:22

    I blame the SNP for this shocking development.

  • iantinkler

    • September 16th, 2015 17:13

    No, Brian, a conspiracy from Shetland Health Board to try and cut obesity and dental decay on Shetland, maybe Scoop is a really good move.


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