Can you imagine Anna Wintour stuffing her face with sweet ’n’ salty between Fashion Show ‘frows’? Well, it might not be as far from reality as you think: the renaissance of popcorn saw it become the ‘official snack’ of London Fashion Week. And there are hard stats to back up the theory that popcorn is the stuff to be seen with: sales increased by a massive 38.1 per cent last year according to a recent report in The Grocer.
So why the love?
A US study revealed that popcorn contains more antioxidants than some fruit and vegetables. Add to that a celeb following from the likes of Rihanna (she chose it as the backstage snack at her recent River Island launch) and it’s no surprise that popcorn has gone beyond the mitts of cinema-goers.
Adam Sopher, the co-founder of gourmet popcorn pioneers Joe & Seph’s, says that it was a perfect storm of trends that came together to make a popcorn killing.
When we launched in 2010 the feedback we had from customers was that they were frustrated with the low-quality popcorn that was available. Then there was the fact that premium snacking was growing within the food industry anyway as consumers were opting to treat themselves to brands that represented an affordable luxury.
Cassandra Stavrou saw a similar trend when she decided to launch Propercorn in 2011 and she also makes the point that ‘freefrom’ credentials have fast become an expectation of all food products across the market.
This means popcorn – which can be gluten-free, wheatfree, dairy free if popped in olive oil rather than butter and vegetarian – had all the right ingredients for a cash-in. And the market is only set to get bigger.
In the US, 90 per cent of shoppers buy popcorn regularly compared with just 40 per cent of us Brits; that’s an awful lot of corn virgins just waiting to get their taste buds popped.
And as Sopher points out, you can scoff it anywhere – ‘on airlines, as a snack in coffee shops and even pubs’.
Hell, if it’s good enough for RiRi…