With Movie Theaters Dark, Farmers Are Sitting on a Glut of Popcorn
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were inundated with stories and images of product shortages for items like toilet paper, wipes, and gloves from around the country.
But now that our ability to do things outside the home has been significantly curtailed, we're beginning to see a stockpile building among certain products.
Food & Wine Magazine is reporting that the popcorn market is experiencing the best and worst of times during this pandemic.
While microwave popcorn sales are at an all-time high, there is a glut of movie theater popcorn in America since the vast majority of screens have been dark for the past six months.
According to the numbers, about a third of all popcorn nationwide is consumed outside the home, with the microwave and theater markets being served by two different suppliers.
Farmers who sell to theaters do so in bulk and aren't equipped to handle all of the specific packaging requirements for the home market.
One of those direct-to-theater suppliers is Preferred Popcorn in Chapman, Nebraska. According to Food & Wine, the grower has installed seven new silos to store the surplus popcorn it has accumulated since the start of the pandemic; the equivalent of 80 million movie theater popcorn buckets.
Popcorn suppliers do have a little bit of time on their hands. The current crop can survive in storage for up to a year.