Popcorn is snack loved by millions of people around the world. We like our popcorn sweet, salty, buttery and even plain. But there’s more to popcorn than you might think! Check out these 51 fun facts about popcorn. I bet you’ll learn something new!
51 Fun Facts About Popcorn
1. More than 17 billion quarts of popcorn are consumed by Americans every year. This amount would fill the Empire State Building 18 times.100g) serving is: (University of Nebraska)
2. The average American eats about 63 quarts per person every year. (US Department of Agriculture)
3. Most of the world’s popcorn production is in the United States, with 25 states growing the crop. Over one fourth of the national popcorn production is in Nebraska, with Indiana coming in at a close second. Illinois, Ohio and Missouri are other major popcorn producing states. (USDA)
4. Nebraska produces 353.7 million pounds of shelled popcorn annually, which is 44% of all popcorn production. (Agricultural Marketing Resource Center)
5. Indiana produced 352 million pounds of popcorn in 2017 and is the nation’s #2 producer of popcorn. (My Indiana Home)
6. Pulaski county, Indiana is the popcorn capital of America. (The Washington Post)
7. Popcorn is the official state snack for Illinois and Indiana.
8. National Popcorn Day is January 19th.
9. National Caramel Popcorn Day is April 6th.
10. October is National Popcorn Poppin’ Month.
11. Fall is the peak season for popcorn sales. (National Day Calendar)
12. About 90% of the sales of unpopped popcorn is sold to consumers for at home consumption. (Aghires)
13. The brand of popcorn eaten most often in the United States is Orville Redenbacher. In 2020, 63.59 million Americans consumed Orville Redenbacher popcorn, followed by Pop Secret with 49.16 million consumers. (Statista)
14. In 2020, 232.51 million Americans consumed popcorn products. This figure is projected to increase to 238.4 million in 2024. (Statista)
15. Approximately 70% of all popcorn is eaten in the home (home popped and pre-popped) and about 30% outside the home (theaters, stadiums, schools, etc.). (The Popcorn Institute)
16. Microwave popcorn saw a 20% growth in retail sales in 2021, compared to the previous year. (Inside Indiana Business)
17. 67 million Americans consumed 6 or more bags of popcorn in 2020. (Statista)
18. Popcorn is a profitable snack food that can boast profit margins of 80 to 90 percent. (WebstaurantStore)
19. According to a survey done by National Today, the top 10 popcorn flavors are:
- Classic butter and salt – 73%
- Cheese – 37%
- Caramel – 32%
- Garlic salt – 15%
- Chocolate – 14%
- Plain – 13%
- Cinnamon and sugar – 11%
- Truffle butter – 8%
- Hot sauce – 7%
- Jalapeño – 5%
20. A good batch of popcorn is one where at least 98% of the kernels pop. (Aghires)
21. Popcorn can pop up to 3 feet in the air. (seecalifornia.com)
22. People used to believe that a little demon lived inside the popcorn kernel and threw such a tantrum when he was angry that the corn exploded. (New York Magazine)
23. Popcorn kernels expand up to 40 times their original size. (American Society of Agronomy)
24. If you made a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles, you’d need more than 352,028,160 popcorn kernels. (popcorn.org)
25. Ashrita Furman holds the record for most popping popcorn caught with both hands in one minute. He caught 34 pieces of popcorn. (Guinness World Records)
26. The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball was made in Sac County, Iowa. It weighed a total of 9,370 pounds. It consisted of 2,300 pounds of popcorn, 2,500 pounds of dry syrup mix and 4,900 pounds of sugar. (saccountyiowa.com)
27. The longest popcorn string measures 1,200 ft. (365.76 m). (Guinness World’s Records)
28. The moisture content of a popcorn kernel needs to be between 13%.5-14% to pop. (popcorn.org)
29. The ideal temperature at which popcorn should be cooked is 180°C (356°F). (The Washington Post)
30. Unpopped popcorn kernels are called old maids. (popcorn.org)
31. Most popcorn comes in two basic shapes when popped – butterfly (or snowflake) and mushroom. Butterfly popcorn has “wings” and a light crispy texture. It’s best consumed when freshly popped. Mushroom popcorn is round with a large, rough surface area. It tends to stay crispy longer than butterfly popcorn, and it’s sturdy enough to handle many different types of toppings.
32. Popcorn’s scientific name is zea mays everta, and it is the only type of corn that will pop. (seecalifornia.com)
33. In South America, kernels of popcorn found in burial grounds in the coastal deserts of North Chile were so well preserved they would still pop even though they were 1,000 years old. (popcorn.org)
34. In 1948, Herbert Dick and Earle Smith discovered small heads of corn and individually popped kernels deep in a dry cave known as the “Bat Cave.” The kernels have since been carbon-dated to be approximately 5,600 years old. (The Spruce Eats)
35. Popcorn was an important food for the Aztecs, who also used popcorn as decoration for ceremonial headdresses, necklaces and ornaments on statues of their gods, including Tlaloc, the god of rain and fertility. (hopi popi)
36. The Aztec language even has a word for the sound of many kernels popping at once — totopoca. (NPR)
37. Cracker Jack was introduced in 1803 at the World’s Columbian Exposition by Frederick William Rueckheim and his brother Louis. The first recipe, made with popcorn, peanuts and molasses was deemed too sticky. In 1896, Louis discovered a way to separate the molasses-coated kernels (the process is still a closely guarded secret today). He gave a sample to a salesman who exclaimed, “That’s crackerjack!”, and the Cracker Jack we know today was born. (Wikipedia)
38. In 1885, a Chicago inventor named Charles Cretors created a steam-powered machine to pop popcorn in oil. (Cretors)
39. Popcorn was a popular breakfast food during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It was eaten just as we eat cereal today. (popcorn.org)
40. At first, popcorn was sold to movie goers from street carts because movie theaters didn’t want the smell or mess of popcorn in their establishments. The Great Depression changed everything. Movie theaters started luring in customers by selling popcorn for 5 to 10 cents a bag, a luxury most were able to afford at that time. (Smithsonian Magazine)
41. During World War II, Americans ate three times as much popcorn as usual because sugar was sent overseas for U.S. troops, which left little excess for making candy. (USDA)
42. Orville Redenbacher began growing his own popping corn when he was 12 years old. (Orville Redenbacher.
43. The first microwave popcorn was made by Pillsbury in 1982. It contained real butter, so it had to be kept in the freezer. (New York Times)
44. Any kind of popcorn you buy that was grown in the US – organic or not – is non-GMO. (Prostate Cancer Foundation)
45. Popcorn is gluten-free. (Healthline)
46. Air-popped popcorn has 31 calories per cup. (Healthline)
47. Oil-popped popcorn has 40 calories per cup. (USDA)
48. Popcorn is a whole grain food and high in several important nutrients. The nutrient content in a 3.5oz (100g) serving is:
- Iron: 18% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 36% of the RDI
- Potassium: 9% of the RDI
- Zinc: 21% of the RDI (Healthline)
49. A 3-cup serving offers 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber. (Cooking Light)
50. Popcorn has more fiber than pretzels or potato chips. (Livestrong)
51. Unpopped popcorn shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator or freezer. This will dry out the moisture in the kernel, reducing its ability to pop. Popcorn should be stored in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place, such as a cupboard or pantry.
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