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THE GOODS : Bitter Sweets : Think you know the prices of snacks? Think again. The cost of candy bars and sodas is all over the map.

March 24, 1995|GARY LIBMAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Anyone who's paid the price of a snack at an airport won't be surprised by the results of our little informal survey in Los Angeles.

We checked out the cost of a Hershey Bar and a Coke at a variety of locations. Los Angeles International Airport came in at the top or near the top.

A 1.55-ounce plain Hershey Bar will set you back 75 at the airport, the highest price among seven locations surveyed. Only movie theaters sold candy bars for more per ounce.

A 16-ounce cup of Coca-Cola costs $1.61 before taxes at the airport, the second-highest price among venues contacted.

The higher price was at the Whittier Hilton Hotel, where a 12-ounce glass of the soft drink costs $2.25--but is sipped in classier surroundings than your average LAX snack bar.

The cup of Coca-Cola that sells for 7.6 to 10.1 per ounce at the airport costs only 1.7 to 4.3 per ounce at a 7-Eleven in West Los Angeles.

A representative of the Host Marriott Corp., which holds the food and beverage contract at the airport, said prices are based "on prices in the surrounding community, such as all the hotels on Century Boulevard."

A representative for the Los Angeles City Department of Airports said rents for concessions are "a little more expensive than rents in the neighborhood. But our rates are in line with other airports around the country."

The City Council recently authorized contracts with seven new food and beverage providers at LAX, adding a variety of choices rather than the offerings of a single concessionaire. One new provider, Hamada Inc., has proposed a price of $1.05 for a 16-ounce Coca-Cola, a savings of 56 over the current Host price, a representative for the board of airport commissioners said.

The new providers are not expected to increase current prices except perhaps in some sit-down bars, the representative said. Increased revenues are supposed to come from a larger variety of foods as well as offerings by brand names. The plan is expected to be in place by 1996.

Still up for grabs is the contract for one firm to operate 23 other food and beverage outlets in the huge airport and a smaller contract to operate another five service sites.

Among other prices we found: A 12-ounce can of Coca-Cola sold for a maximum of $1 at Disneyland and a minimum of 34 at Smith's Food and Drug Centers in Cerritos.

A bar supervisor says the Whittier Hilton Hotel has a reason for charging $2.25, or 18.75 per ounce, for its 12-ounce glass of Coca-Cola.

"We have free entertainment and no cover charge," says Ralph Edmonds. "We get people who will come in and order a Coke and just stay. There's no way to recoup our entertainment cost unless we charge."

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

COST OF CRAVINGS

Here are the prices of a Hershey Bar and a Coke at a few Los Angeles locations.

COCA-COLA, CUPS

Price per Ounces--Price Ounce 7-Eleven 32--79 2.46 44--89 2.02 Union Station, Union Bagel Stand 24--$1.20 5 Union Station, Eastern Lobby Store 32--$1.65 5.15 AMC Santa Monica 7 Theatres 32--$2.49 7.80 44--$2.79 6.34 Disneyland 24--$1.60 6.67 Los Angeles International Airport 20--$1.72 8.60 24--$1.83 7.63 Whittier Hilton 12--$2.25 18.75

COCA-COLA, 12-OUNCE CAN Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Cerritos: 34 Sav-on Drugs, Los Angeles Mall: 74 7-Eleven: 75 Disneyland: $1

PLAIN HERSHEY BAR, 1.55 OUNCES Sav-on Drugs, Los Angeles Mall: 45 Smith's Food and Drug Centers, Cerritos: 45 7-Eleven: 60 Union Station, Eastern Lobby Store: 60 Disneyland: 65 Whittier Hilton: 65 Los Angeles International Airport: 75 Edward's Big Newport Cinema, Newport Beach: $1.10*

* Based on a 2.8-ounce bar for $2

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