It’s a classic. Even when you get part of the kernel skin lodged under your gums or stuck in your throat, you keep popping those salty white morsels into your mouth.
Even before World War I, Americans have been enjoying popcorn in its naked popped form and in caramel-coated Cracker Jacks (since 1896). Then Jiffy Pop, Orville Redenbacher, and Pop Secret gave your parents and grandparents new ways to cook popcorn on the stove and in the microwave. Popcorn shops, huge mail-order tins, and bagged popcorn became popular, but other than a douse of white cheddar powder or other seasonings, popcorn flavoring hasn’t changed much in decades — until now.
Welcome to what start-up Opopop calls “the popcorn revolution.” Friends Brad Roulier and Jonas Tempel started Opopop in 2021. “There are some new companies chasing different health trends, like SkinnyPop, or introducing ready-to-eat-popcorn, and that’s interesting but it’s not innovative. … We believe popcorn should be eaten warm and fresh,” Tempel told The Denver Post.
This is not your mother’s popcorn, but if mom stops by, you can throw Opopop’s Peel + Pour popcorn cup in the microwave and she can reminisce about old-school flavors like butter (called “Like Buddahh”) and lightly salted. However, the Denver-based company wants to modernize the classic snack by offering pre-flavored kernels as well. And while popcorn flavoring isn’t new, Opopop’s Flavor Wrapped Kernels are.
The kernels, pre-coated with flavoring, come in sweet options like Vanilla Cake Pop, Birthday Cake, and Cinnalicious; savory selections like Wasabi, Pickle Monster, Chedapeño and Salted Umami; and a mixture of sweet and salty with Salty Caramel and Maui Heat, a spicy pineapple blend. Or, you can make your own combination by mixing up Opopop’s flavors.
Reddit’s popcorn community had some things to say about Opopop. One user said, “Best microwave popcorn I’ve had,” while another said, “[T]hese were new, exciting flavors that are right in the oil (or whatever it cooks in), so you really get that flavor all over the popcorn.”
Its drawbacks are accessibility and price. Opopop is not available in your grocery store, but you can order it on the Opopop website, Williams-Sonoma, or Amazon, and have it delivered to your door. However, it ain’t cheap. You could make your own flavored popcorn, or throw down $14 for a bag of Opopop kernels.
It’s being marketed as a premium snack for a younger demographic, according to Food Dive magazine, such as Millennials and Gen-Z, along with parents who don’t mind spending more to spoil their kids. The options include Peel + Pour pop cups, which cost $24.99 for a mix-and-match 12-pack (makes 60 cups of popcorn), and packs of the Flavor Wrapped Kernels. The Flavored Wrapped Kernels cost between $13.99 a bag (makes 36 cups) to $17.99 for a big bag (makes 54 cups). Opopop also offers discovery kits for $29.99 to $199.99, and each includes a recommended Popcorn Popper bowl and sample pouches of flavored kernels.