Trend Watch: Innovation Fuels Popcorn Sales


Washington —  Few snack foods are as versatile as popcorn. From classics, such as butter and salt, to more unexpected choices, including birthday cake, coconut and maple syrup, popcorn’s ability to carry different flavors has left consumers with options.

The global popcorn industry generated $11.63 billion in sales in 2021 and is projected to reach $17.6 billion by 2027, exhibiting a CAGR of 6.7 percent from 2022 to 2027, according to a report from IMARC Group. The report found that busy lifestyles, an inclination toward ready-to-eat convenient food as opposed to traditional meals and an overall growing awareness about healthy eating habits have boosted the growth of the global popcorn market.

As the sector continues to expand, companies are experimenting with flavors, presentations and even popping methods to showcase popcorn’s flexibility. Here are some of the products available for more adventurous snackers.

Popcornoplis Takis Fuego

Popcornopolis, LLC has partnered with Barcel USA, LLC’s Takis brand on a new popcorn: Popcornopolis Takis Fuego. The popcorn is seasoned with a combination of hot chili pepper and lime, dusted across non-GMO corn. It packs in the company’s signature cones and features bright purple and red branding. According to the company, the snack is made with 100 percent American-grown corn and popped in coconut oil. Popcornopolis will also be working with influencers to create unique recipes and content tied to the overarching theme of “Make Your Taste Buds Pop.” 

The Safe + Fair Food Co. Strawberry Shortcake Popcorn

The Safe + Fair Food Co. Strawberry Shortcake Popcorn is made with gluten-free kettle-popped popcorn drizzled with a pink strawberry glaze. The snack contains no preservatives, artificial ingredients or high fructose corn syrup, according to the company. The popcorn is also gluten-free, vegan, non-GMO, kosher and made with zero grams of trans fat. According to the company, the strictest food allergy testing is implemented to ensure the products are free from the top nine allergens. Safe + Fair also donates 3 percent of its proceeds to the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University. Other flavors in the company’s line include birthday cake, dark chocolate, dill pickle, everything bagel, key lime pie and sea salt. 

Sun-Popped Corn

Founded by an artist and inventor and a Minnesota corn farmer’s son, Bjornqorn uses solar power to pop its kernels. At the Kelder’s Farm location in Kerhonkson, NY, big mirrored reflectors are used to collect the sun’s rays and focus them on the kettles. The company has also expanded to include a solar-electric facility. All of Bjornquorn’s products are vegan. Its signature flavor comes from nutritional yeast, a high protein and high B-vitamin seasoning that is popular in vegan cuisine. Each bag of popcorn is non-GMO Project verified. The safflower oil is also Project Verified, and the yeast is certified GMO free by BioStar. Flavors include classic, cloudy, spicy, Earth and maple. 

Funky Chunky
Peanut Butter Cup

Funky Chunky, LLC’s flavors are based around caramel corn mixed with nuts and other treats and swirled with chocolate and caramel drizzle. The Peanut Butter Cup Popcorn includes swirls of peanut butter, milk chocolate drizzle, peanuts and caramel. Each batch of Funky Chunky is handcrafted in the Midwest and is certified kosher, according to the company.

Emma’s Gourmet
Gingerbread Popcorn

Emma’s Gourmet Popcorn LLC was founded in 2006 by Emma Fisher after her friends and family fell in love with her popcorn concoctions. The business was started in a small shed on her home property until she retired in 2010. It was then moved to her children’s home. The Amish-made popcorn is non-GMO, popped in coconut oil and comes in a variety of sweet and salty flavors including coconut cream, honey mustard and onion, cheesy crab, asiago rosemary and Amish peanut butter. The gingerbread variety features a caramel base mixed with spices, including black pepper.