14 May, 2012
Home cinema boom sends sales of popcorn soaring to all time high
Britain’s home cinema and giant TV boom has helped create the highest ever UK demand for popcorn.
Over the last few years popcorn has become so popular that it is now the UK’s fastest growing snack as Brits look to replicate the complete cinema experience in their own homes.
In the last year alone sales of popcorn have grown by 21 per cent across all retailers, according to independent retail analysts Kantar Worldpanel. And the extra sales have swollen the UK popcorn market to an amazing £42 million – a value almost unthinkable just 10 years ago.
So strong is the current demand that last year Tesco added a further five varieties to the three it had been selling in order to keep up with the growing consumer interest.
Now the market has grown to branch out into different flavours and among the varieties sold by Tesco are plain; salt; sweet; sweet and salt; toffee; raspberry; chocolate brownie; and sweet jalapeno.
Tesco snack buyer Lee Bannerman said: “Popcorn is the biggest success story in the UK snacking market for at least 10 years and has inspired a rapidly growing home industry.
“Sales began taking off a few years ago and have ironically been helped by the economic downturn as more people stay at home instead of going out for expensive trips to the cinema or theatre. When they do they want to make the most of the experience and sharing a bag of popcorn is part of that.
“One example of how quickly the UK popcorn market has grown is that just five years ago it was worth about a tenth of the tortilla chip market – now it is worth nearly half.”
Popcorn arrived in Britain just before the Second World War when popcorn machines were launched in cinemas by the American firm Butterkist.
As prosperity grew during the 1950s visiting the cinema and eating popcorn became the trendy thing to do for millions of teenagers and the snack soon became available in shops.
However, until only a few years ago there were still just a handful of UK popcorn producers making three basic varieties – plain, salted and sweet.
Lee Bannerman added: “The UK’s popcorn industry is still in its relative infancy and we can expect to see increasingly exotic flavours coming onto the market over the next few years”
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