Ready-to-eat popcorn is thriving in sales and driving flavor innovation in the snacking sector. Total U.S. retail sales of popcorn have increased 32% in the past six years—reaching an estimated $2.5 billion in 2017—with ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn surging 118%, garnering $1.1 billion in revenue, according to new insights from research firm Mintel.
Consumers also crave a variety of RTE popcorn flavors. The research firm analyzed popcorn purchases of nearly 600 consumers from October to December 2017 and found that nearly half (49%) prefer cheese-flavored popcorn; 32% prefer chocolate/caramel covered popcorn; 39% want popcorn with multiple flavors; 20% crave mix-ins with popcorn, such as dried cranberries or candy; and 20% want seasonal flavored popcorn, such as pumpkin spice or gingerbread.
RTE popcorn brands are also tapping into consumer demands for better-for-you and portable options: Forty-five percent of patrons said they are interested in buying all-natural popcorn varieties, Mintel said.
Here are the five most profitable RTE popcorn brands that saw positive convenience-store growth over the past year as of August 2018, according to financial data from research firm IRI …
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