Popcorn Picks up Popularity Thanks to Flavor

Posted by National Honey Board on February 23, 2022

Safari honey butter cinnamon popcorn

Sure, salty popcorn is tasty, but what about a delicious blend of honey, barbecue, chocolate, or spice? Popcorn is a timeless, classic snack, but thanks to consumer demand for better-for-you noshes and traditional, yet new tasty treats, it’s making a huge resurgence on store shelves.

Once You Pop …
What makes popcorn so darn craveable? The flavor of course! Candy & Snack Today reported that trendy flavors such as sea salt, caramel and dark chocolate are leading the way, along with sweet mixed with savory, hot and spicy varieties. But, old favorites are still shining, with white cheddar, butter and kettle corn finding staying power.

Jadi Anderson, marketing director for KLN Family Brands, told Candy & Snack Today, “When it comes to sweet popcorn, we see more emphasis on nostalgic and seasonal flavors. These items are fun to snack on and leave consumers’ sweet cravings satisfied without the guilt of more traditional sweets.” And, what better way to sweeten handfuls of popcorn than honey? It’s all-natural and filled with endless flavor opportunities — more than 300 varietals of honey exist in the U.S. alone.

Couch Pop-tatoes
There’s no denying the influence the pandemic has had on snacking. Quarantine, which turned into cravings for more human interaction, has created an all-day snacking trend that is so enormous that it’s completely changed the three-meal-a-day tradition. Market research firm NPD’s The Future of Snacking report showed that ready-to-eat popcorn has a “strong outlook” for staying power in behavioral snacking.

Popcorn’s heating up:

  • It’s forecasted to grow 8.3% in 2023, predictably making it the fastest-growing snack food — Baking Business
  • The ready-to-eat popcorn category generated $1.7 billion in sales over the 52 weeks ending in November, an increase of 9.1% over the same time the previous year — Candy & Snack Today

Baking Business reported that popcorn was “among the top growing snack foods in terms of consumption in 2020. Darren Seifer, food industry analyst at NPD, called ready-to-eat popcorn “a tonic for boredom.” Wow! Fire up the latest popcorn movie and check out these made-with-honey, Oscar-worthy, ready-to-eat popcorns.

A Chicago tradition, Garrett Popcorn Shops have been around since 1949. And one of the reasons the company has staying power is due to innovation: tradition combined with something new. The most recent Sweets & Snacks Expo welcomed Garett’s S’mores popcorn variety, this time sweetened with honey and a chocolatey coating drizzle, housed in a ready-to-eat, resealable pouch.

Photo Credit: Garrett Popcorn Shop
Photo Credit: Hammond's

Hammond’s POP! Honey Peanut is gluten-free, kosher and will treat consumers with the nostalgic taste of caramel corn. The handmade popcorn is a delicious flavor combination of honey and creamy butter in each crispy kernel: the perfect mix of sweet and salty.

Papa’s Skinless Popcorn Pops is one of the most unique products to hit the scene as of late. No more hulls in your teeth — they’re truly skinless! Honey Mustard & Onion adds to the new popcorn experience with a non-GMO, gluten-free treat with no preservatives or trans fat. The flavorful mix is sure to contribute to a fun popcorn eating experience.

Photo Credit: Papa's
Photo Credit: Poppy Hand-Crafted Popcorn

Barbecue is one of the trendiest flavors of the year, so when Poppy Handcrafted Popcorn re-released its Sweet Honey Barbecue regional-style barbecue popcorn in 2021, they were ahead of the pack. The return of the popular flavor is a blend of sweet honey and smoky spices mixed into fluffy, yet crunchy kernels.

For more information on how to formulate popcorn flavor mixes with honey, visit honey.com.