Why You Should Sell Fresh Popcorn in Your Store

Customers experience the visual, aroma and taste of fresh popcorn that can be customized, while c-stores experience high gross margin profits.

September 20, 2022

This article is brought to you by Gold Medal Products Co.

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—Convenience retailers are continuously looking for innovative ways to build foot traffic to their stores—and increase revenue—while consumers are always on the lookout for something new.

Inside-store sales at convenience stores grew at a substantial rate of 8.7% in 2021 year over year to $277.9 billion, according to NACS State of the Industry data. The increase was driven mainly by an 18.2% increase in foodservice sales. Foodservice is a c-store traffic driver, and fresh, gourmet popcorn is on trend and can be a draw for customers.

The ready-to-eat popcorn/caramel corn category was up 12.1% with total sales of $1.8 billion, according to data from IRI for the 52 weeks ended May 18, 2022.

Further, popcorn that is popped on site adds to the in-store sensory experience for customers. They can see the popcorn, smell the aroma and, in some cases, hear the popcorn being popped, further enticing them to grab a bag. Retailers can see up to 70% to 90% gross margins on fresh gourmet popcorn, according to Gold Medal Products Co., a food equipment provider that offers contactless commercial popcorn machines.

“The fresh product adds to the ‘experiential’ aspect of in-store shopping,” said Adam Browning, president of Gold Medal. “It engages all the senses. Freshly popped popcorn is something customers can see, hear, smell and taste.”

What’s also on trend is customization, and Gold Medal offers a line of shake-on flavors, so customers can make the popcorn their own creation. Flavors include the classics like caramel and cheddar cheese, but Gold Medal also offers trendy, exciting flavors such as bacon and cheese, dill pickle, churro, lemon pound cake and Guadalajara hot sauce.

“In convenience stores, we think the best place for the shakers is right next to the popper for customers to shake on in a similar fashion to having different flavors of coffee creamers,” said Browning. “This is where customers can get creative, mixing and matching flavors to customize their popcorn.”

Learn why Gold Medal’s self-serve, contactless popcorn machines can be the ideal setup for convenience stores in Thursday’s edition of NACS Daily.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on how fresh, gourmet popcorn is a gross margin profit generator and c-store traffic driver. Learn more about Gold Medal Products Co. by downloading the company’s e-book for convenience stores, The Snack Factor.