Los Angeles

L.A. City Councilman Wants to Force Movie Theaters to Sell Tofu Dogs

Creating more food waste to help the environment


Tofu dog
www.westend61.de/Westend61 / Harald Walker/Newscom

Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz's wife and daughter are vegans, so now he's proposing an ordinance to require concessions at major venues to sell vegan food.

He's not just talking about city-owned venues such as airport terminals, but also privately owned and operated movie theaters and stadiums. And he's not just talking about just anything vegan; he wants to force these venues to offer vegan protein options.

If you need an example of how little the average government official grasps how private commerce works, check out his explanation to Variety of how he thinks this will play out if implemented: "There's really no downside to it. The change could easily be made in any venue. A movie theater serves hot dogs. They can serve vegan dogs. It's easy."

It's easy! Apparently vegan hot dogs are free and do not impose any costs whatsoever on these venues!

So what happens when a movie theater buys vegan dogs as ordered, but people don't want to buy them or eat them because they're gross? Seriously, I know vegans who won't touch them. I have actually enjoyed several meatless meals, but these were at restaurants that specialize in making it all taste good, not concession stands. If there's no downside to it, as Koretz insists, then why aren't they already doing it?

Nobody, nobody, is going to convert to veganism on the basis of what's in some warmer at a movie theater, so nothing in this plan is going to change anyone's larger eating habits. The people who want to buy hot dogs are going to buy hot dogs. Vegans didn't just look at the lack of options and then shrug and buy meat, did they? They can make it through a movie or a basketball game without backsliding into beef, right?

And what happens to the uneaten tofu dogs? Koretz argues that vegan food is better for the environment than eating meat and helps fight climate change. But is that if nobody buys the concession stands' vegan options, they're going to get thrown away, creating food waste. Food waste is bad for the environment! Food that ends up in landfills produces methane as it decomposes, contributing to greenhouse gas problems.

In short, this plan is not going to result in less meat consumption, and it may actually contribute slightly to global warming.

We have actual existing evidence that such food mandates contribute to problems while solving little. In Minneapolis, a city ordinance ordered all stores to carry fresh produce and other foods deemed healthier, even if nobody wanted to buy them. Stores had to devote money and shelf space to the required goods, and then throw them away when they rotted. People didn't want them.

If enough people actually want vegan options at these venues, they'll certainly let the vendors know. Vegans aren't known for being shy about their eating habits. Dodger Stadium already offers vegan hot dogs, and STAPLES Center has vegan food choices. It's simple supply and demand, the marketplace in action. If people want vegan food at the movie theater, and the theater realizes it can make money serving them, it'll provide those choices. If it won't make money serving them, all Koretz is doing is forcing additional costs on these businesses (many of which operate on pretty thin margins) and contributing to the food waste problem. It's a terrible idea, and the city should reject his plans.

Bonus link: Over at the Los Angeles Times, occasional Reason contributor Gustavo Arellano blasts Koretz's poor grasp of the economics of food production and the operating margins of concession stands.

NEXT: First Amendment Lawsuit Challenges U.T.-Austin's Prohibition of Speech That Is 'Offensive,' 'Biased,' 'Uncivil,' or 'Rude'

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  1. Ignoring the fact this is blatantly unconstitutional (hot dogs are free speech!), I don’t know of any vegan who would touch fake-meat cooked on the same surface as real meat. So stupid and pointless as well. The government trifecta.

    1. Then the solution is to require a second cooking surface. If you can’t force your way of life onto others, you can’t be a politician. Or a vegan.

      1. Really, you just need to have 50% of the conversions be vegan only.
        Like bathrooms at sports venues. Despite 60-80% of the customers being male, regulations Force bathrooms to be a 50-50 split, and the universe makes sense.

    2. Amendment to the ordinance of course

      Vendors may not cook, serve, or prepare vegan options on or in any surface or equipment used in the preparation of any meat product.

      Our ordinance gives a double bonus as now its a stimulus package for restaurant supply companies.

      1. Now they’ll need six sinks instead of just three. Jobs!

    3. My exact thought was that it should be quid-pro-quo and every vegan restaurant should be forced to serve all-beef hot dogs.

      1. This is California, vegan restaurants should be required to serve bacon wrapped hot dogs.

        1. Deep fried?

        2. Given the caliber of Cali-pols it wouldn’t surprise me if they also mandated the bacon wrapped hot dogs to be kosher/halal as well.

      2. This would be perfectly fair. A reasonable solution.

  2. Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz’s wife and daughter are vegans

    You know why you know they’re vegans? ‘Cause they won’t shut the fuck up about it.

  3. “There’s really no downside to it. The change could easily be made in any venue. A movie theater serves hot dogs. They can serve vegan dogs. It’s easy.”

    Well, no downside other than requiring vendors to allocate counterspace to the completely separate hot dog cooker they’ll need because VEGANS DON’T EVEN DRINK CERTAIN ALCOHOLS BECAUSE THEY USE ANIMAL PRODUCTS IN PRODUCTION!

    Christ, does this guy think *vegans* of all people will be willing to tolerate even the hint of animal fat being trasferred over when using the same cooker?

    And is he ready for the backlash – when the lawyers start suing under ‘equal access’ laws and demand vegan-specific restaurants serve meat products?


    1. Well, no downside other than requiring vendors to allocate counterspace to the completely separate hot dog cooker they’ll need because VEGANS DON’T EVEN DRINK CERTAIN ALCOHOLS BECAUSE THEY USE ANIMAL PRODUCTS IN PRODUCTION!

      No leather either. Are they going to ban all leather seating or force places to offer pleather seats?

      1. I’ve not seen any movie theaters or sports stadiums with genuine leather seats. Well for sports stadiums, maybe in the leased box sections.

    2. You can buy a hot dog cooker for under 20 bucks and it’s smaller than a toaster.

      1. It will last about three shifts of commercial use

        1. And it won’t be legal because it doesn’t have the NSF imprimatur.

    3. Can I get a lacto-ovo free bun with that?

  4. “…Koretz’s wife and daughter are vegans…”

    So he wants everybody to share in his personal hell?

    1. We have to take steps to eliminate suffering inequality.

      1. Government pain and suffering redistribution. 🙂

    2. He was elected to serve his constituency and they’re constituents. Why do you hate democracy?

  5. It would be a tragedy if the Councilman choked to death on a giant vegan hot dog.

    1. While sliding into the chipper – – – – –

  6. Well, it all falls neatly into how financially illiterate progressives view business.

    Once you are privy to their belief that ‘if you can’t make our demands work then you don’t deserve to be in business’ then what this guy is saying makes totes sense.

    ‘Just buy the hot-dogs and people will come. Easy!’

    Now. This is where it gets trickier and points directly to why we’re mired in this malaise where people believe in pseudo-economics.

    These are the same people who think mandating $15 an hour has no negative unintended consequences that ravage a business bottom line and a low-skilled labour market.

    It’s nuts. They should be forced to take a night off their diversity training and actually go take some business and economics classes.

    1. Put them in public stocks, and have someone read them a copy of economics in one lesson.

      This only stops once they are repeatedly publicly humiliated about being economically illiterate.

    2. Screw classes. Operate a business where the success of it determines whether or not you eat. No theoretical bullshit – you learn by doing.

  7. “….In Minneapolis, a city ordinance ordered all stores to carry fresh produce and other foods deemed healthier, even if nobody wanted to buy them. Stores had to devote money and shelf space to the required goods, and then throw them away when they rotted. People didn’t want them.”

    I’m guessing, in addition to waste (which is a sin) all it achieved was pass the costs on to the consumer and impact employee hours.

    1. But one apple, put it in a cool case, throw it away each week and get another. Compliance.

      1. Actually it even listed how much fresh produce, milk and eggs. However it said what size milk (nad what fat percentage it could have and no flavored milk), what size eggs and egg cartons (no six packs or 18 packs and nothing larger than A large.

    2. Probably funded with public money, so no harm done.

  8. Nobody, nobody, is going to convert to veganism on the basis of what’s in some warmer at a movie theater

    In the navy, every supper before coming back into port was surf and turf, and the steak was ok but not exciting. I somehow managed to steal a 40 pound case of those steaks and take them off base (this was in Japan); I do not now remember how I got them off the ship (40 pounds!), or who I gave them to (40 pounds!). But they were fine when cooked up properly.

    Mass production ruins a lot of good food. I can’t imagine what it does to crap like tofu hot dogs.

    1. I can’t imagine what it does to crap like tofu hot dogs.
      Because there is no way to tell if tofu hot dogs have been messed up?

  9. It might be an interesting debate if they clarify exactly what vegan dogs are. Cuz if I were Sweeney Todd I’d interpret that a bit differently than Koertz does.

    1. vegan dogs are either tofu cylinders on long buns or vegetarian K9s. Take your pick.

      1. Well I think it could be interpreted as hot dogs made out of vegans

        1. delicacy in New Guinea

        2. Not sure you’d get the right fat content.

          1. Add bacon – – – –

  10. My daughter’s favorite animal is steak. I’m very proud.

    1. My favorite animal is bacon.

  11. I can bring forth several vegetarians to testify that veggie hot dogs suck.

  12. [mid-conversation] “… and so they decided to find a cemetery they *really* loved instead of eating tofu!”

    Sorry, just my favorite movie quote about tofu.

  13. And, unaddressed in this post, is the fact that forcing vendors to buy, prepare and dispose of food, that no one wants to buy, will increase costs on all consumers.

    Fortunately, movie theatres and stadiums are renowned for their inexpensive dining options.


  14. there’s still meat in California?

    1. Lots of it in Chatsworth.

      1. walked right into that.

  15. If there are a lot of vegans and vegetarians (as there are in California) it would be in the business’ best interest to sell a vegan option. However, if the vegan’s aren’t eating at theaters and sports stadiums in large numbers then it doesn’t work financially for them to do so. I know in my city, most restaurants offer vegetarian and vegan options because enough customers requested it.

    1. Some of them also have ended up outselling the meat counterparts, too–but vegan hot dogs? Nicest thing I’ve heard said about them is that they do tend to be better at maintaining even quality than their meat counterparts.

      Which was about when I decided that I’ve no interest in eating hot dogs, regardless of what they’re made out of…

  16. I can’t walk, therefore, all forms of recreation that require walking must be banned!

    1. Good point.
      Therefore, the federal government must provide electric scooters to everyone?
      I think I am getting the hang of it now.

  17. LA City Council?
    Got nothing to do with vegan, got everything to do with power.

  18. Why think when you can move to California?

  19. I imagine that a tofu dog would taste pretty normal. Manufacturers manage to make beef, pork, and chicken hot dogs all taste pretty much the same. We might already be eating part-tofu dogs and not know it.

    1. Buy kosher dogs. Whole new level.

      1. Yes. An all beef kosher dog is amazing.

    2. The best sesame chicken I ever had was made of tofu.

      1. If tofu gets prepared right it’s not bad. But so many places can’t seem to prepare it right. Either that or they deliberately make it slimy and textureless just to let people know it’s tofu so they can get culture points for serving it. There is no reason to make it slimy and textureless.

  20. Sounds to me like Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz’s wife and daughter have hit on a million-dollar business plan! Maybe they should go buy a movie theater and start making the big bucks selling tofu dogs at the concession stand.

    1. Might check and see if he owns stock in a tofu dog supplier.

  21. Back in college a law school student threatened to sue me personally as well as the pizza restaurant I worked for. We sold pizza by the slice, and had cheese pizza and pepperoni pizza hot and ready to go all the time. We could also cook pizza by the slice to order in five to ten minutes. This guy was pissed that we only had cheese pizza for vegetarians. I told him we could custom cook a slice with his choice of toppings. Not good enough. He insisted that is be precooked and ready to serve when he walked in the door. Despite him not phoning in advance to place an order.

    And he kept proclaiming how he was a law student and knew the law.

    My boss, who was not a lawyer, told him to bugger off. We never heard from him again. As we expected.

    But this was 1985 or thereabouts. In today’s cultural climate I don’t think such a restaurant could even exist in California. Has anyone seen a pizza-by-the-slice restaurant with precooked pizza in the last ten years? I sure haven’t.

    1. There’s several local to me that have precooked pizza that gets sold by the slice, including a couple chains and grocery stores. Some won’t do custom slices, but if they don’t have it ready-to-go (and that’s usually cheese) then you are just gonna have to deal with waiting a bit.

      On the other hand, we’re saner than California.

      1. Pizza joints in New York and the surrounding tri-state area sell a lot of single slices, mainly at lunch. That option is often not available the rest of the day. Some will add toppings to your basic cheese slice and charge you for each one, and a “slice of the day” with a topping or two is often a choice.

        Ghood ghod, imagine if the vegans demanded slices with gluten-free dough and non-dairy “cheese.” *shudder*!!!!!!!

        We never should have let Vegans into the country. Next thing you know, your daughter will be dating a slimy Denebian!

  22. People still go to the movies? Is it retro cool now?

    1. It will be law soon that you have to go to the movies to support Hollywood.

      Obamacare set up a precedent that government can force you buy products and services.

      1. I was always one to bring my own food to the movies anyway. I know I wasn’t as’posed ta but I did anyway. I never got any hassle for it. Movie theatre food is expensive and isn’t noisy enough for my taste. I prefer a big ol’ bag of potater chips (or “deconstructed potatos” as we call them here in [redacted]). You can rustle the bag somethin’ fierce during the quiet parts of the movie which makes the chips taste better.

  23. They want to take our guns and make us eat Tofu.

    They’d prefer mandatory castration, but this is essentially the same thing.

  24. I thought for a moment I’d stumbled onto The Onion…but this is apparently real. You just can’t make this shit up, can you?

  25. And gluten free too. All food service should be required to have a gluten free menu.

    1. And a high-bacon content menu. Just in case a baconaterian stops in.

  26. Politicians see no problem that can’t be solved without their involvement. All it takes is another law/regularion and a little more of your tax money. Utopia is just around the corner!

  27. Why does anyone still live in Commifornia?

    You either elect these Lefty tyrants or you know your fellow taxifornia dipshits will, so why endure all the misery?

    1. They’re all moving to Austin and DFW to fuck up Texas instead.

  28. Let me dictate what you sell,
    Make you do that tofu
    that you do so well.

    1. Apprec’d

  29. Mandating selling tofu dogs, and actually having someone buy one is two totally different things.

    1. Market wins!

    2. Ever boil a frog?

  30. When a politician makes a proposal like this it should be grounds for automatic recall. There should be a threshold of percentage of population that has to sign a petition for such a proposal to ensure a large percentage of the population wants it, or failing that a clear and easy to understand argument as to why the proposed changes benefits the public and clearly and accurately outlining the effect of the proposed change on all parties.

    This is how they’re imposing plastic bag bans in my town. If put to a vote it would likely fail because it’s unpopular, so they have to resort to underhanded measures to impose their will on others.

  31. Actually, the concession stands in movie theaters make a lot of money, because they charge high prices, and outside food is banned. They don’t operate on thin margins, they are the main revenue source for many theaters, since much of the ticket price must be passed on to the movie studios. The high markups apply to sports stadium food too.

    They still shouldn’t be forced to carry items that may not sell. But I will say, my vegetarian [not vegan] brother used to have barbecues where he cooked up vegan hot dogs and hamburgers, and some of them were pretty decent. Some brands were really bad, but he soon learned to avoid those.

  32. I think this clown and his family should be forced into a chinese-style concentration camp where they will be forced to eat meat and verbally praise hunters and stockmen.

  33. Guess Koretz is tired of his wife’s nagging. He obviously isn’t a vegan himself, by looking at his picture.

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