Last week, General Mills officially launched Pillsbury Funfetti Popcorn in the convenience segment. The release marks the third confectionary-inspired, ready-to-eat popcorn to join their 2022 line of Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cocoa Puffs.
Coated with a sweet Funfetti glaze, the 2.25 ounce bag of popcorn features tiny rainbow flecks to parallel the fun and colorful experience of eating a Funfetti cake. While considered an innovation item, the product calls upon the nostalgic, childhood classic, making for an instant crowd pleaser.
Popcorn, specifically RTE, has “exploded into the snack market as a versatile canvas for many different snack occasions,” said Food Business News. “Popcorn can be salty, sweet, spicy or bland; it can be eaten sitting down or on-the-go; it can be flavored without other main allergens and marketed as a healthier alternative to some cookies, chips and crackers. And its popularity shows no sign of cooling.”
Global research and technology company Technavio has forecasted that the “global ready-to-eat popcorn market size is estimated to increase by $5.61 billion from 2021 to 2026,” and Grand View Research has projected a 11.2% compound annual growth rate from 2022 to 2030. Moreover, according to Innova Market Inisghts’ 2022 snacking survey, 54% of Americans said they reached for a snack two or more times a day.
Therefore, zero-prep, portable, indulgent snacks like RTE popcorn continue to be preferred by consumers. As this interest expands and drives the market, companies are experimenting with bolder, more innovative flavors.
Other brands have also been capitalizing on this trend. Despite 2022’s supply chain and inflation challenges, Hershey experienced significant, double-digit gains in its salty snack category – a segment that includes varieties of popcorn, such as their brand Skinny Pop. Similarly, Frito-Lay also reported double-digit growth in its salty sack category, particularly through their popcorn brand, Smartfood’s, limited time offers including a Krispy Kreme flavor. This collaboration was inspired by extensive consumer surveys and market research, meaning that unique flavor combination trends are a proven winner in today’s marketplace. And General Mills is no exception.
General Mills’ Pillsbury Funfetti Popcorn will undoubtedly solidify the brand’s position as a leader within the RTE, salty snack category.