New flavours and quirky marketing help popcorn burst in popularity as sales rise 14 per cent to £120m

Francesca Washtell
Follow Francesca
Source: Getty

Innovations in flavours and marketing, as well as snackers acquiring a taste for healthier treats, have pushed popcorn sales up 14 per cent in the last year.

Total UK popcorn sales rose to more than £120m in the 52 weeks to 16 July, according to market intelligence group IRI.

Both volume and value sales increased, despite all other snack categories except for nuts struggling over the same period.

Read more: Sugary snacks had their slowest growth since 2008 last year

“Popcorn is no longer something you only eat at the cinema – it has fast become a trendy, healthy snack for all occasions,” said Tim Eales, director of strategic insight at IRI.

“Manufacturers and retailers have found a way to collaborate and champion the right innovative new product development.

“Unusual flavours, its healthy snack positioning and quirky packaging are just some of the ways they’ve done this and it’s really paying off.”

According to IRI's new product development (NPD) study, 13 per cent fewer new branded items in the total grocery market launched in 2015 compared to 2013, though NPD in the popcorn category was up 2.7 per cent.

Read more: Smaller is better... When it comes to food packaging

Within the popcorn arena in 2016 alone, notable launches have included Walkers Wholegrain Sunbites ready-to-eat popcorn, which posted value sales of just under £1.1m since its launch in February, and the Nude Popcorn Company, which registered sales of £560,669 between its launch in May and July.

In August, posh crisps and popcorn maker Tyrrells was snaffled up by US publicly-listed popcorn group Amplify Snack Brands in a £300m deal.