Business history of popcorn

Popcorn is the fastest-growing segment of snack food.

Throughout the 1800s, Americans routinely popped the kernels in wire baskets over open flames and used them as decorations on Christmas tree.

The invention of popcorn popping machine by Charles Cretors in 1885, boost the whole popcorn industry.

It was not until 1890 that popcorn became important enough to be raised as a marketable crop. Before that time, individual families raised their own popcorn or bought it from their neighbors.

Cloud H, Smith was the first one to build a company around selling of corns which will pop. He made bold statements like guaranteed to pop on his tins so as to lure customers. When the movie theaters opened up the popcorn business definitely got a big boost.

In 1896, a Chicago manufacturer produced Cracker Jack, a combination of popcorn, molasses and peanuts.

During the depression era popcorn was sold for 5 or 10 cents a bag and because of its price became one of the few luxuries poor families could afford.

Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn was marketed by Orville Redenbacher in 1970. Redenbacher presenting himself as the humble popcorn lover and was the one who transformed the industry and he claimed that his popcorn was fluffier, better tasting, more tender and more ‘poppable’.

In 1976, Orville Redenbacher’s Gourmet Popping Corn business operations and property were sold to Hunt-Wesson, which later acquired by ConAgra Foods in 1990.
Business history of popcorn


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