Cheese Powders and Popcorn Seasonings Satisfy Consumer Call for Natural and Nutritional Snacks

Popcorn – a classic American snack – has evolved. 

Americans consume 15 billion quarts of popped popcorn every year. That’s about 45 quarts per person. Americans consume more popcorn than any other country, with 70% of popcorn consumed at home and 30% eaten outside the home. Most U.S popcorn is grown in the Midwest. Popcorn is even Illinois’ official state snack. 

Today, popcorn is widely considered a snack food. But during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, it was a popular breakfast food eaten with milk and sugar – preempting cereal today. 

Popcorn’s Popularity in the Great Depression 

Through the Great Depression, popcorn was very popular and regularly sold in bags by vendors at fairs, parks, and expositions. During this time of economic difficulty, popcorn was one of the few snack luxuries families could still afford.  

It was also at this time that popcorn was introduced as a movie theater snack. One theater owner lowered the price of movie tickets and added a popcorn machine, which led to huge profits. Popcorn soon solidified its spot as the default movie theater snack. Vendors began renting out storefronts to sell popcorn to movie-goers, and theaters that didn’t sell popcorn quickly went out of business.  

Say Cheese (Powder) 

The creation of powdered-cheese flavored popcorn can be traced back to Chicago in the late nineteenth century. Pre-popped white cheddar popcorn was the fastest-growing trend the popcorn industry has seen. A century later, Smartfood Popcorn with cheese flavorings first came to market in 1985 and remains a popular snack today. Typical cheese flavors found on ready-to-eat popcorn include cheddar cheese and white cheddar cheese, with both flavors using spray dried cheese powders.  

Today, 49% of U.S. popcorn consumers purchase cheese-flavored popcorn.

It’s All in the Pop 

Popcorn has been named a nutritional powerhouse due to the fact that it contains more polyphenols (healthy antioxidant compounds) than most fruits and vegetables. In fact, air-popped popcorn contains less than 100 calories per serving, half as many calories as popcorn cooked in oil. Not only is popcorn low in calories and fat, it also contains no cholesterol, sugar or sodium and is high in fiber. Just one serving of popcorn can provide 70 percent of the recommended daily intake of whole grain. Plus, its low-energy density keeps you feeling fuller longer, making it a suggested snack for those trying to lose weight or eat more consciously.  

It’s ideal for consumers who want the same indulgent and savory flavors they know and love while still being conscious of what they’re eating.

A Snack that Caters to All Taste Buds 

As consumers start to demand healthy alternatives, the ready-to-eat popcorn industry has made adjustments to cater to these needs. The industry has gained popularity by successfully innovating healthy, creative popcorn flavors that fit consumer’s sweet and salty snack needs.  

The increasingly popular ready-to-eat popcorn category has spurred a flavor innovation craze with flavors varying widely across the sweet and salty spectrum.

Popular flavors are saltly, sweet, a combination of sweet and salty, butter, cinnamon and even lime. Cheese-flavored popcorn has also taken off with white cheddar cheese, cheddar cheese and parmesan cheese as popular options. 

Feeding the Demand for Dynamic Popcorn Flavors 

As the consumer demand for new and innovative popcorn flavors grows, Bluegrass Ingredients has worked to deliver classic and exciting new flavors in versatile powder applications. Bluegrass’ innovative product development process and wide flavor variety provides many options for popcorn seasonings through classic dairy flavors, both butter and cheddar cheese powders for popcorn. 

Bluegrass’ offers both dairy and plant-based butter powders, providing a traditional popcorn flavor – satisfying both movie-goers and consumer cravings.  

Got a need for cheese?

Our variety of cheese powders for popcorn, made with our award-winning natural cheeses, deliver a delicious and authentic flavor. Plant-based and dairy-free cheese powders harnessing Bluegrass’ legacy as a dairy powder manufacturer have also become a defining offering.  

These are essential flavors for ready-to-eat popcorn. With consumers calling for healthy and delicious popcorn flavors, Bluegrass’ research and development process allows food manufacturers to satisfy these consumer needs with bulk cheese powders as well as other traditional flavors or custom-made ingredients. 

There’s no doubt that as consumers continue to drive demand for healthier snacks, the ready-to-eat popcorn market will continue to thrive. It’s one part of Bluegrass’ overarching commitment to develop and distribute formulations that meet shifting market demands and give customers the flavors they crave in more versatile, affordable and sustainable ways. From new flavor trends like mango powder to classic dairy powders and cheese powders, Bluegrass is inventing and improving the future of food.  

To learn more about Bluegrass’ popcorn seasonings and market-driven flavor solutions, contact us.

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