RTE Popcorn Driven By Flavor, US Sales Projected 118%

Sept. 4, 2018

Flavor innovation is the new trend among consumers of ready-to-eat (RTE) popcorn, according to Mintel. US RTE popcorn leads the flavor innovation, from indulgent to savory, with an estimted growth of 118 percent between 2012 and 2017 to reach $1.1 billion, research from Mintel reveals 

Consumers are interersted in flavor in the pre-popped convenience of RTE popcorn. Both familiar and unexpected flavors in the popcorn category are leading the way. Traditional varities are high on the list of demands, including cheese-flavored (49 percent) and indulgent – such as chocolate/carmel covered (32 percent). Consumers are also interested in new, innovative popcorn options in the mixed flavor category – such as salty, indulgent and cheesy popcorn in one bag (39 percent). They are also buying popcorn with additional addins – dried cranberries or candy, as an example – (20 percent), and seasonal flavored – like pumpkin spice or gingerbread (12 percent.  

“RTE popcorn brands are finding success not only through an expanding array of creative new flavors, but also by tapping into growing interest in healthy, natural and portable snacks and eating occasions,” said John Owen, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel. “The popcorn segment, and RTE popcorn in particular, is likely to continue benefiting from a generally healthy image as well as its suitability as a medium for a wide range of flavors and toppings.”  

Innovative and dynamic flavors are driven by the RTE segment, which has doubled in growth since 2012. This gives other salty snack brands an incentive to try new and unexpected flavors in order to engage consumers. Engage consumers, particularly younger generations, with variety in salty snacks, says Owen.