History and Facts about Popcorn

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.


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.


2 thoughts on “History and Facts about Popcorn

  1. Robert — this is a very informative article. Although I’ve written a lot of stuff about popcorn, I actually didn’t know many of these facts. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I had no idea that some of the oldest popcorn was found 5,600 years ago. It would be really interesting to learn more about how it was discovered. Not only that, but I can’t help but wonder how it was made back then. Really interesting that popcorn dates that far back.

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