7 Convenience-Store Ready-to-Eat Popcorn Brands to Watch

Conagra recently made news when it paid $250 million to acquire Angie’s Boomchickapop, adding a top performer to its stable of packaged snacks.

Conagra expects its new brand to exceed $100 million in sales by the end of 2017, according to CEO Sean Connelly. Conagra also recently purchased Thanasi, maker of Duke’s meat snacks and Bigs seeds.

Several popcorn and caramel-corn brands are helping propel dollar-sales growth, largely on the strength of consumer demand for premium options. According to Chicago-based IRI, the ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn/caramel-corn segment saw dollar sales grow 4.25% during a 24-week period ending Aug. 13, 2017, from the year-earlier period. Units, however, fell 2.9%, theoretically due to the emphasis on costlier premium brands. For the full year ending Aug. 13, dollar sales of RTE popcorn/caramel corn grew 3.04%, while units slipped 2.25%, IRI found. 

Click through to see seven brands that have made sales and unit-performance inroads for the 24-week period ending Aug. 13. 

Angie’s Boomchickapop Buttery Caramel Popcorn

No wonder Angie’s Boomchickapop fell on Conagra’s radar screen: The brand enjoyed a 33% dollar-sales increase, according to IRI, for the 24-week period. Three of its seasonal flavors include Buttery Caramel Popcorn, Candy Corn Flavored Kettle Corn and Pumpkin Spice Kettle Corn.

Smartfood Spicy Jalapeño Ranch Popcorn

PepsiCo’s RTE popcorn portfolio saw consolidated dollar sales grow a shade below 5%, but the brand basket lost units at 4.16%, according to IRI. Under the umbrella are Smartfood, Chester's (losing almost 20% dollar sales) and Cracker Jack brands. The Smartfood brand saw dollar sales and units rise 12% and 7%, respectively, during the 24-week period, according to IRI data. One variety in the Smartfood lineup is Spicy Jalapeno Ranch Popcorn, which combines the spice from jalapenos with a cool and creamy ranch finish. 

Cracker Jack

PepsiCo’s iconic Cracker Jack brand, which offers a surprise inside each box or package, saw dollar sales fall less than 1% during the 24-week period.  

Situated in the top 20 popcorn/caramel-corn brands, Wise brand (Arca Continental) saw positive dollar-sales growth for the 24-week period at 11.73%. The brand has seven flavors plus a variety pack.

Amplify Snacks, led by its SkinnyPop brand, enjoyed a 53.2% dollar-sales increase and 51.39% unit increase for the 24-week period. 

Lance grew dollar and unit sales at 86%, with one brand propelling the growth: Movie Theater Butter Popcorn in a 6-ounce family package. 

One emerging brand to watch for future growth comes from The Pur Co., a Toronto-based maker of aspartame-free gum and mints. It recently jumped into the RTE popcorn arena. Driven by taste and inspired by wellness, all Pur popcorn products contain 35 calories per serving. They are made using high-quality ingredients, all-natural flavors and 100% whole-grain corn, “popped to perfection,” according to the company.