Kernel by kernel, America’s hearts have been loyal to popcorn since its inception more than 9,000 years ago. One of the oldest forms of corn, popcorn’s traditions lie with oil, butter and salt. However, traditions mixed with new variations largely are attributed to the puffy kernel’s staying power.
According to FoodBusinessNews.net, new flavors of popcorn are key in helping the industry thrive. Ready-to-eat popcorn and caramel corn sales at the end of the summer totaled more than $704 million a 27% increase over the previous year, according to market research firm IRI.
All-natural ingredients, great taste and a more nutritious take on the puffy snack also are contributors to popcorn’s rising popularity, and honey factors highly into all three of those categories.
In fact, Smartfood, the leading ready-to-eat popcorn brand in the United States, offers a honey variety. Smartfood sold $109 million worth of popcorn in 2014, according to Statista. Smartfood’s Honey Cinnamon Pecan Granola Coated Popcorn is a crunchy, all-natural snack made with honey, cinnamon and brown sugar. The popcorn is coated with rolled oats and roasted pecans.
Ready-to-eat private label brands also made a splash in 2014, with $37 million in sales. Lakota Honey Popcorn is a combination of sweet honey and traditional salt. The light and airy snack comes from a line of the first and only Native American owned and operated organization producing, processing, packaging and marketing popcorn celebrating its Native American heritage.