Is Cinemark Popcorn Vegan and Cruelty Free? The Buttery Truth

April 27, 2023

Trying to figure out whether Cinemark popcorn is vegan friendly can be difficult.

Popcorn manufacturers ofen mask the actual ingredients behind vague terms, and even when they do give you a full list, they never include how those ingredients were made. 

To make sure that you are only consuming food that aligns with your vegan lifestyle and diet, I’ve investigated the ingredients and production processes of Cinemark popcorn.

Here’s what I found.

Is Cinemark Popcorn Vegan?

No. Cinemark movie theater popcorn is not vegan.

Cinemark popcorn is a movie theater popcorn brand that uses clarified butter, which is a type of butter that has been processed to remove the milk solids and water.

Clarified butter is a dairy product and, therefore, is not vegan.

What’s more, Cinemark popcorn also contains refined sugar. Sugar is technically vegan because it is plant based, but most refined sugar is processed using animal bone char to decolorize it and make it white.

Bone char comes from the ground-up bones of animals—usually cows—and is used as a filter in the sugar production process. Unless the sugar in the product is labeled “raw,” “organic,” or “unrefined,” it’s best to be safe and assume that it was processed using bone char.

So even though Cinemark popcorn doesn’t have any overtly non-vegan ingredients, it isn’t vegan friendly because of the butter and sugar.

Unfortunately, this is often the case with movie theaters’ popcorn products. When you order, you can try to ask them to pop you a new batch of plain popcorn with only salt as your topping. However, it may still have butter residue from past batches, so if you’re a strict vegan, it might be best to avoid it altogether.

Is Cinemark Popcorn Cruelty Free?

Yes! Cinemark popcorn is a cruelty-free product.

Cinemark popcorn brand does not test any of its popcorn products on animals at any point of its development or production. In addition, the popcorn does not contain any ingredients that are routinely tested on animals, such as artificial colorings or flavors.

Animal testing is an outdated and unethical practice that involves harming animals for the sake of human interests. Brands that are considered cruelty free do not test any of their products on animals, nor do they use ingredients that are tested on animals.

It is a great achievement that many companies are taking a stand against animal testing and are instead finding alternative ways to test the safety of their products.

What Is Cinemark Popcorn Made Of?

Here are the ingredients of Cinemark popcorn:

  • Popcorn kernels
  • Canola oil
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Soy

Let’s break down each ingredient of Cinemark Popcorn:

Popcorn kernels

Popcorn kernels are corn that pops when heated. It is the main ingredient in popcorn and is usually made from yellow or white corn. Popcorn kernels are vegan friendly.

Canola oil

Canola oil is a type of vegetable oil that is extracted from the seeds of the canola plant. It is often used in cooking and baking because it has a high smoke point. Canola oil is a vegan-friendly ingredient.


Salt is a mineral that is used to add flavor to food. It is a vegan-friendly ingredient. However, butter is added to Cinemark’s popcorn salt in some of its varieties.


Sugar is a type of carbohydrate that is used to sweeten food. It can be derived from sugarcane or sugar beets. Sugar is naturally vegan, but most sugar is processed using animal bone char to decolorize it and make it whiter.


Soy comes from the processed soybean plant and is used in many vegan-friendly products as a protein source. It is a vegan-friendly ingredient.

Why Isn’t Cinemark Movie Theater Popcorn Vegan?

Cinemark’s movie theater popcorn is not a vegan product because it contains clarified butter and refined sugar. Butter is, of course, a dairy product, and refined sugar is often processed with animal bone char. These two ingredients make Cinemark movie theater popcorn unsuitable for vegans.

Is Cinemark’s Pack-a-Pop Kettle Corn Popcorn Vegan?

No. This product is not vegan. This popcorn contains refined sugar, an ingredient avoided by strict vegans.

This popcorn is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Cinemark’s Butter Topping Anhydrous Butterfat Vegan?

No. This product contains milk.

This popcorn topping is not safe for vegan consumption.

Is Cinemark’s Butter Flavored Topping Vegan?

No. This product is not vegan. It contains butter, which comes from milk.

This popcorn seasoning is not safe for vegan consumption.

Are Cinemark’s Nachos Vegan?

No. This product is not vegan. This product consists of Rico’s chips and cheese sauce, and their cheese sauce contains milk, a non-vegan ingredient.

These nachos are not safe for vegan consumption.

Vegan Alternatives to Cinemark Popcorn

If you’re in one of Cinemark’s national theater chains and you’re looking for a vegan-friendly alternative to their popcorn, you’re out of luck. But there are plenty of vegan-friendly popcorn brands that you can sneak into the theater to enjoy. Here are some of my favorites:

Whether they have a butter-free popcorn salt or lack butter and refined sugar, these popcorns are just some of the many totally vegan-friendly alternatives to Cinemark popcorn. In addition to those options, if you have AMC theaters near you, choose one of those instead. Its plain popcorn is totally vegan and gluten free. You can spoil yourself with any of these without worrying about whether or not they have animal-derived ingredients lurking in them.

Final Words

So, there you have it! Cinemark movie theater popcorn is not a vegan popcorn because it contains clarified butter and refined sugar. However, there are many vegan options for popcorn that you can choose from. 

If you’re seeing a film at one of the major movie theater chains and are craving a healthy, vegan-friendly snack, then definitely go for one of the brands of popcorn listed above. And good luck sneaking it in!