Popcorn: It’s What’s Poppin’

Now, more than ever, consumers reach into a bag when they have a hankering for a snack, but It’s not potato chips or pretzels they’re grabbing. It’s popcorn. Thanks to the streaming society in which we live, 62% of consumers choose popcorn for their TV viewing partner. Popcorn and movies go hand in hand but not just for nostalgic reasons. Consumers are snacking more than ever and seek healthy options to sustain them throughout the day. Popcorn is healthy, easy to eat, satisfies both savory and sweet cravings, is full of fiber and has a satisfying crunch. Manufacturers are loading the shelves with a variety of popcorn products that fill all those needs and more. Check out what’s popping in popcorn.

Popcorn Worth Popping For

The popularity of popcorn is reflected in the numbers.  By April 22, 2018, dollar sales of ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn grew 5% to $1.34 billion since last year, with microwave options having a 3.4% surge.1 In the last five years, RTE has grown a popping 118%.2   With a 30% market share, Smartfood popcorn is the top brand, with Skinny Pop and Angie’s Artisan Treats brand BOOMCHICKAPOP close behind.


Health – More health conscious consumers still want to snack and savvy popcorn manufacturers are making it easy for them to do so. Skinny Pop recently announced a high protein popcorn in two appealing flavors. With 5 grams of grass-fed protein, Skinny Pop +Protein comes in both Cheddar and Cracked Pepper with Ranch which will definitely attract ranch obsessed Millennials.

Combo’s – While healthy is good, 37% of consumers still crave indulgent popcorn.3 Popcorn’s healthy halo might go a tad askew with the addition of dark chocolate or caramel, but consumers don’t seem to mind a bit. Hershey’s recently launched a Popped Snack Mix that incorporates their classic chocolate bars, Reese’s Pieces or Cookie & Cream bars and mixes them up with popcorn drizzled in either caramel or chocolate and tosses them all together with pretzels. We expect more brands to follow suit with healthy mix-ins as well.

Heat: Popcorn is very flavor friendly. Sweet, savory, spicy, or hot. Whether it’s SmartFood’s Spicy Jalapeno Ranch or BOOMCHICKAPOP’s Chili Lime popcorn, manufacturers are looking out for the consumer’s demand of all things hot and spicy.

Seasonal: Popcorn is the perfect vehicle for seasonal varieties and consumers feel good about serving a healthy treat to their guests that has a seasonal touch. This holiday season be sure to grab a bag (or two) of either BOOMCHICKAPOP’s white chocolate and peppermint kettle corn or the frosted sugar cookie variety. Trader Joes just recently introduced a Birthday Cake popcorn that, while not necessarily seasonal, is certainly a celebratory snack.

Despite all these awesome flavor options, 45% of consumers still prefer their popcorn Au Naturel.4 Trader Joe’s recently introduced its Heirloom popcorn, which is cultivated from Amish and Mennonite farmers in the eastern part of the U.S. Air-popped with a bit of avocado oil, this snack pops up smaller and crunchier.

Pop over to our website and check out our real food ingredients that make the perfect topping to your popcorn application.