'Pop' Culture Mavens

Popchips scores c-store product placement on the silver screen—and in better-for-you sets
Katy Perry Popchips
Katy Perry poses for Popchips

SAN FRANCISCO -- California is certainly an appropriate home for Popchips. Pro sports, silver screen and entertainment stars have all jumped on the bandwagon of this fast-growing salty snack brand. Ashton Kutcher, Heidi Klum, fitness trainer Jillian Michaels and Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz are all brand fans, and recording artist Katy Perry helped develop the company’s first sweet flavor: Katy’s Kettle Corn.

Following on the heels of that venture, the company secured product placement in the recent hit movie, “Escape from Planet Earth,” where one of the main characters lands in the desert and quickly discovers a 7-Eleven convenience store and, of course, Popchips.   

“Great-tasting snacks and movies go hand in hand,” Al Raddatz, senior vice president of sales for the San Francisco-based company told Convenience Store Products. “But we’ve also made a concerted effort to bring Popchips to the silver screen—especially during relevant on-screen snacking occasions like convenience-store shots.”

While Raddatz declined to share the cost particulars—if any—that were incurred for the product to be integrated into the movie, he explained that the target audience for the film aligned with Popchips’ key customers.

“We are strategic with our product placement efforts and saw this as an opportunity to capitalize on a key-pop culture moment,” he said.

Popchips was born when its founders saw how a high-pressure cooking technique at a rice-cake manufacturing plant popped rice like popcorn. They realized that popping was the most optimal way to create a healthy chip that retained flavor without relying on frying or baking.

Since then, Popchips has seen the c-store channel as an integral part of its growth platform, and has helped retailers develop an overall better-for-you snack strategy.

“We’ve found particular success by placing multiple, better-for-you snack options together, or pairing our brand with healthier beverages; these strategies help consumers find a solution to their specific needs,” Raddatz said.

“In some instances better-for-you snacks are merchandised in the mainstream salty snacks set, in others within a dedicated better-for-you product set, or merchandised in the prepared-foods area as a healthier complement for on-the-go sandwich offerings,” he added.

Be on the lookout for Popchips' next tastemaker recruit.