Composite by Kristen Hom
It’s a brave new world, folks. Oreos now come in Brownie Batter flavor, Jelly Belly makes vomit-flavored jelly beans, and Dunkin’ Donuts is selling a Fudge Croissant Donut. Diversification is all the rage among brands looking to freshen up their image, so sure enough, packaged popcorn companies are stepping up their game as well.
While you can still find butter-flavored popcorn in countless varieties at your local Safeway, the flavor options just keep getting more and more diverse. Food scientists have been able to figure out how to transfer some interesting flavors onto the popcorn while it’s popping in your microwave (new microwave popcorn packaging is also keeping things exciting), and with pre-popped popcorn, the options are endless. There are also just as many sweet popcorn varieties available today as savory ones; some even have things like chocolate and peanut putter drizzled onto them.
Corn is one of the most versatile foods on earth, so it makes a whole lot of sense that food companies would get creative with the way they flavor popcorn. And for the most part, these new flavor varieties work. In this age when snack foods are getting more and more “extreme” and more and more consumers are looking for bold and creative flavors, there’s no reason not to try them out on a vessel as neutral as popcorn.
We researched nearly every variety of packaged popcorn that’s currently on the market, from household names to small artisanal brands, and tracked down 18 popcorn flavors that we’re willing to bet you haven’t heard of. These might not all be at your local Publix just yet, but we bet that if the next time you’re at the supermarket you take some time and really look at the popcorn selection instead of just reaching for your usual Smartfood or butter-flavored microwave bag, you’ll notice some surprising flavors.