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US popcorn market exports topped 232 million pounds last year

Industry Sector

Food and Drink


25 January 2013


Matt Bodimeade

Type of News


Over the five years to 2013, revenue within the US popcorn market grew at an annualised rate of 2.1%, to hit a valuation of $1.1 billion.

Consumption within the US Popcorn market dates back thousands of years to Native American tribes eating Zea mays everta (corn grain) seeds and using it in necklaces and headdresses.

However, popcorn did not become a mainstream snack until the Great Depression, when it soared in popularity due to its affordability. Since then, the United States has become the top producer and consumer of popcorn worldwide.

Domestic popcorn demand peaked in the early 1990s with the growth of the microwave popcorn segment and has remained stable since. It has become a mainstay at movie theaters, sporting events, amusement parks, and nearly everywhere else people gather.

US popcorn exports topped 232 million pounds last year, with a total value of $78 million. That continues a modest increase over the past few years.Popcorn

Mexico is the top US market, accounting for a third of all exported popcorn. That's followed by China, Japan, South Korea, the United Kingdom and Russia. By contrast, the US imported only 1.5 million pounds of popcorn last year, most of it from Argentina.

Industry operators are benefitting from effective marketing, which solidified companies' brand-name reputation. Producers are charging premium prices for their products' perceived superior quality and are growing their pool of customers willing to pay these high prices. Major producers' ability to charge a high price also allowed them to maintain profitability despite rising input costs.

The US popcorn industry is expected to continue its growth by increasing investments in technology to develop new flavours and healthier products. As a result, revenue is forecast to grow an average of 2.3% per year to $1.3 billion during the five years to 2018.

For more information on the US popcorn market, see the latest research: US Popcorn Market

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