Look Who’s POPular: the Facts about How Much Popcorn is Sold Annually

family on couch eating popcorn

How much popcorn is sold annually? According to the Popcorn Board (a non-profit national commodity promotion and research program), Each year, Americans consume over 14 billion quarts. That’s the equivalent of 43 quarts per person in the U.S. per year! But how did these funny-looking pops become so beloved by Americans?

How Much Popcorn is Sold Annually

Affordable Snack

It’s interesting to note though that this healthy snack didn’t gain popularity until times were hard. During desperate years, people sought ways to be distracted from their troubles, and during the Great Depression, nothing was a better diversion than movies. Because popcorn was sold in 5 and 10 cent bags, it was cheap enough for most people to afford, causing sales to increase dramatically.

Candy Sales Decline

Then, nearly a decade later, popcorn sales increased again with the onset of World War II, though for a different reason. People were still regularly enjoying handfuls of popped corn, but during the war, sugar was rationed, becoming so scarce that America’s candy supply was significantly depleted. So people filled the void of sweets with savory popcorn.

1980s Microwave

In the 1980s, microwaves became more common, causing a shift in where and how people consumed snacks. Instead of going to the movies to enjoy handfuls of pop, people could eat it almost instantly in their own homes. Today, only 30% of all popcorn is consumed outside the home.

#1 Consumer of Popcorn

Until two decades ago, each year since 1945 had shown an increase in annual popcorn sales. Hitting an all-time high in 1993 at about 1,158,000,000 units. While America is still the number 1 consumer of popcorn globally, sales have dropped, and in 2010, it sold only 958,650,076 units.

Popcorn Exports

However, though sales fluctuate in the U.S., other countries seem eager to add it to their pantries. In the past 15 years, places like Argentina have expanded popcorn crops from a mere 1,000 acres to over 10,000. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, popcorn exports climbed more than 39 million pounds from 1999 to 2000.

Consumption Decline

It’s theorized that the shift in consumption has to do with the increased purchases of more processed snacks. Snacks like potato chips, are quickly outpacing the retail sales of popcorn. To chow down on a bag of potato chips, all you have to do is open it. To dig into a bowl of popcorn, you have to pop it first. Unfortunately, many people want a quick snack that requires no extra preparation. We’re all so concerned about instant gratification that the two minutes it takes to microwave popcorn is a considerable inconvenience to them.

Sales Could Rise

However, with new research on the terrific health benefits of popcorn coupled with the understanding of the adverse effects of poor diet choices, it’s hoped that sales of this delicious snack will once again be on the rise in America.

Fun Fact

Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup! Yet another reason to choose popcorn as your preferred snack.

Order Popcorn Online

GourmetGiftBaskets.com makes all of our popcorn fresh in our Exeter, New Hampshire warehouse. We really love popcorn so you’ll discover holiday, every day, and sports themed tins along with a wide range of popcorn flavors and samplers to choose from!



© Featured photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels