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Industry Facts

Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually or 52 quarts per man, woman and child. It is one of the most wholesome and economical foods available.

Approximately 70 percent is eaten in the home (home popped and pre-popped) and about 30 percent outside the home (theaters, stadiums, schools, etc.). Unpopped popcorn accounts for approximately 90 percent of sales for home consumption.

Major popcorn producing states are Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and Ohio.

The peak period for popcorn sales for home consumption is the fall. Sales remain fairly high throughout the winter months then taper off during the spring and summer. Popcorn is a popular snack with all age groups.

Sales In Pounds (unpopped popcorn)

1970 - 353,000,000 1985 - 670,000,000 2000 - 979,910,286
1971 - 363,000,000 1986 - 700,000,000 2001 - 1,038,134,447
1972 - 372,000,000 1987 - 741,000,000 2002 - 1,040,587,195
1973 - 383,000,000 1988 - 807,000,000 2003 - 983,965,094
1974 - 401,000,000 1989 - 872,000,000 2004 - 1,009,436,378
1975 - 393,000,000 1990 - 938,000,000 2005 - 1,007,680,708
1976 - 415,000,000 1991 - 1,031,800,000 2006 - 976,292,421
1977 - 450,000,000 1992 - 1,124,600,000 2007 - 977,399,488
1978 - 486,000,000 1993 - 1,158,000,000 2008 - 966,515,120 
1979 - 520,000,000 1994 - 1,080,760,000 2009 - 991,490,741
1980 - 568,000,000 1995 - 1,025,000,000 2010 - 985,690,076
1981  - 600,000,000 1996 - 1,068,255,000 2011 - 955,610,300
1982  - 611,000,000 1997 - 1,059,100,000

2012 - 995,774,706

1983 - 618,000,000 1998 - 934,132,810 2013 - 1,023,783,835
1984 - 630,000,000 1999 - 938,100,156  

Popcorn Abroad

Most of the popcorn consumed throughout the world is grown in the United States. Although world-wide sales of popcorn are steadily increasing, Americans consume more popcorn than the citizens of any other country.

Popcorn Quality

Factors influencing popcorn quality include kernel moisture and expansion ratio, processing procedures, home storage and home handling.

To achieve the utmost in popability, the moisture content of popcorn should be from 13 percent to 14.5 percent; 13.5 percent is considered ideal. A moisture content over or under these percentages greatly reduces popability.

Processors consider the minimum expansion ratio for good popcorn to be 35 to 38 to one. However, some of today's improved hybrids will expand over 40 times.

Good popcorn should provide at least 98 percent popped kernels with well under two percent "spinsters" or unpopped kernels. Proper care at the processing level helps to assure this. Processors guard against contamination and other types of kernel damage which could lower popcorn quality.

Because home storage and handling can affect the moisture content of popcorn -- and therefore the popability -- opened packages of raw kernels should be stored in airtight containers until used. Stay away from storing popcorn in the refrigerator. Air inside a refrigerator contains very little moisture and can cause the popcorn to dry out.

Microwave Popcorn

In the early 1980's, microwave popcorn was born into the popcorn family. Today, more than 80% of U.S. consumers households own microwaves - that's over 73 million microwaves in homes alone! Outside of the home, people of all ages enjoy the taste of warm, freshly popped popcorn, too. With the time and preparation convenience microwavable popcorn offers, you can see popcorn "poppin' up" as an afternoon snack at work or afterschool, and in dormitories and hotel rooms. Microwavable popcorn also comes in a wide-variety of flavors including lowfat, extra butter, and gourmet to satisfy all appetites.

The Popcorn Board

The Popcorn Board is a non-profit organization funded by U.S. popcorn processors. The Board strives to raise the awareness of U.S. popcorn as a versatile, whole-grain snack via domestic and international marketing efforts.