Month: March 2014

History and Facts about Popcorn

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reading_to_children_6215One of the primary elements taught in marketing classes is your must know the product you are selling. With this in mind I thought I would share some items about popcorn.

Popcorn has been around for thousands of years.  Ears of popcorn were found in the Bat Cave of New Mexico dating over 5,600 years old.  It is believed popcorn was brought as a gift to the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Popcorn has been sold on the city streets since 1885. At the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, visitors were introduced to a creation of popcorn, peanuts and molasses. Three years later it was marketed as Cracker Jacks.

Popcorn can expand to 30 times its original size when popped.

There is both a National Popcorn Day (January 19) and National Popcorn Month (October).  There is also a Caramel Popcorn Day on April 7.

Popcorn has the highest mark up of any snack food.

Un-popped popcorn is considered nonperishable and will last indefinitely if stored in ideal conditions.

Air-popped popcorn is naturally high in dietary fiber and antioxidants, low in calories and fat, and free of sugar and sodium. Of course, it is what we put on popcorn that makes it tastes so good.

Movie theaters make more profit off of popcorn than movie ticket sales.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not serving popcorn to children under four because of the risk of choking.

Guinness Book of World Records recorded the largest popcorn ball created in October 2006 in Lake Forest, Illinois. It weighed 3,415 pounds, measured 8 feet in diameter, and had a circumference of nearly 25 feet.

Un-popped kernels are known as ‘old maids’.

Popcorn Kernels come in a variety of colors including white, yellow, purple, black, brown and red.  However, it is the only the husk that provides the color.  The interior is either yellow or off-white.

There are two major hybrids of popcorn.  The first is ‘mushroom’ popcorn.  This is often used for pre-popped popcorn like caramel corn because it provides a larger surface area for the coating.  The other hybrid is ‘butterfly’ or firework popcorn.  Butterfly popcorn is used in microwave and movie theater popcorn because of its ‘expansive’ nature.  This variety takes up more space in a bag or bucket giving the impression of a lot of popcorn.

Mushroom_and_butterfly_popcorn

For fun I added this slow motion video of a kernel popping.

I hope you find this information fun and can use it when teaching your Scouts about popcorn.

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We Have Always Done It This Way

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good_crap_to_others_12904 (2)When it comes to popcorn sales, one of the most difficult things to overcome is changing your mental image of what is possible.   Most Units plan programs, create unit budgets, and raise money ‘the same way they have always done it’. They limit themselves to what else is possible.  Do not get me wrong.  It is a natural human desire to want consistency. Many Units are doing a very good program doing it ‘the same way’.  But is it the best way?

I am reminded of an incident that happened when my wife and I were first married and on vacation.  One summer we went to the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN.  If you have never been there, I highly recommend it.  With over 2700 rooms and over 9 acres of gardens, the Opryland Hotel is majestic to see. It is the largest hotel without a casino in the United States.  However, I believe the best part of the hotel is the customer service.

When we checked in, honestly, I was concerned I was going to get lost in a hotel this large.  A bellman met us in the lobby and guided us to our room.  As I stated, I did not want to get lost so I paid close attention to the path we took.  The bellman escorted my wife and I down a path which led into the atrium, by the dancing water fountain and past the waterfall.  He showed us the pool, spa, on-site restaurants and finally to our room.  Throughout the next several days, whenever I was not sure where our room was, I would walk the same path the bellman used to get back to our room.  On the final night before we were to leave, my wife asked me why I kept taking the long way back to the room.  I said this is the way the bellman showed us to our room.  She then pulled out the map of the hotel and showed me our room was only 500 feet from the lobby where we checked in.  When we checked in, the bellman had asked my wife if she had been to the Opryland Hotel before.  I did not realize as we walked down the path we were actually taking a tour of the hotel.  I just assumed this was the only path to our room.  It wasn’t until I was shown a map I found out there was another shorter and faster way to our room.

This same analogy can be used when planning your program and raising enough funds for your Unit.  Pay attention to those which have ‘the map’ on how to be successful.  Attend training and solicit advice from others who have been effective.  Whether it is developing your program or finding a way to pay for it, take time to think about if your Unit runs things because it is the best way or just because ‘it is the way we have always done it’.

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