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To popcorn lovers: would you try it?


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Hello, folks, thanks for reading.

 

My husband thinks, I should start selling my popcorn seasonings (which I make for my family), it’s a good product. But I'm not sure if it’s interesting to other people... So, what do you think, guys?

 

Our story: 

We’ve bought an air popper machine, but popcorn came out pretty tasteless. Then, we’ve bought different “popcorn seasoning” mixes... But it always ends with all the seasoning at the bottom of the bowl. Then, we've added butter, oil and so on before seasoning...  we got soggy, chewy popcorn. Lot’s of disappointments…

 

When we almost gave up… the magic happened! I figured out the way to make seasonings that:

  • Stick to popcorn, but not sticky to fingers (or T-shirt  ,
  • Easy to apply,
  • May be pre cooked in bulk and stored…
  • And popcorn appears crunchy, tasty, thoroughly covered with seasoning.

 

Sounds good, yep? Now, when I want to treat myself  - I only need 2 mins to turn tasteless popped popcorn to a real treat.  

The only moment - it request 1 extra effort: after you toss it over popcorn, you need to microwave it for 1 min, and stir after.

 

So, I was wondering, if you like popcorn like myself - would this seasoning be interesting for you to purchase? Are you ready for a little extra work (microwave & stir) in the goal to flavor popcorn, or it feels too much effort?

 

As I have no experience in manufacturing and retail, your answers would help me to make a very important decision - to dive in or not... 

 

Thanks in advance for your answers, it means the world to me.
 

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Welcome to eGullet.

 

I have more questions than answers 🙃 Is your seasoning sugar-based and it needs the extra heat to melt it?  Can you add it to stove-top popcorn in the cooking pot?  Will it work on microwave popcorn?  I'd be more interested in a savory seasoning than  a sweet one.

 

I think the extra step could be a barrier for some people, and focusing only on air-popped popcorn is really limiting.  Think of what else would this seasoning be good on - toast, pasta, fruit, vegetables, steak?  What happens if you put it on something wet?  Also, microwaves and bowls of popcorn vary. 1 minute for a small batch might get burned - how can you fool-proof it?  i.e. microwave in 30 second increments, stirring each time until X happens.

 

In terms of trying to sell a product, something you put only on air-popped popcorn once a month is a tiny niche. You want people to put it on more stuff, use it faster, and buy more!

 

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We pop on the stove top with oil. I don't add butter. Salt and any moderate savory seasoning get added and tossed  as soon as the popcorn goes from pot to bowl. Often that seasoning is simply freshly grated hard cheese. An extra step in the microwave would not be a selling point for me personally. Perhaps a portion of dedicated air poppers would want some way to get their seasonings to stick better, but as pastry girl suggests, that's a limited market.  

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I do not have, nor do I want, an air popper.  While I have used microwaved popcorn in the past, I now make popcorn on the stove.  I have purchased flavorings from Kernels but I don't like how it falls to the bottom of the bowl.  If yours works for popcorn made in a pot, I would try it for sure.

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I wouldn’t have a problem with the microwave step but the comment about specifying the amount of popcorn per batch would be useful.

Can you take a picture of it with a description of the taste?

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I'm a popcorn hound. I've taken to kernels, in a pyrex lidded bowl, in the microwave. I don't think I'd spend money for a seasoning blend. Also the microwave part if rife with potential disaster as MW's differ so and volume matters. Green can parmesan on hot popcorn works. My favorite is very slight dribble of good olive oil with furikake (partial to shrimp). My office went through a Hawaiian Hurricane popcorn phase - tasty stuff! 

Edited by heidih (log)
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Not sure I would buy seasoning either - in fact I would not.  But I am interested to learn more about how one distributes it while keeping it attached and maintaining crispness.

 

:)

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If I am understanding you properly, you are talking about selling just the seasoning (like the bottles of very fine popcorn salt or butter flavoring you can find at the store)?  It sounds interesting.  The problem with things like that is generating continuing sales.  Sometimes things like that are impulse buys and you don't get repeat sales.  I'm sure (if it were a decent price) I would buy it once, but it would have to be fantastic for me to buy it again.  You also have to decide if you want to have 'soft' beginning sales - i.e. farmer's markets, etc.  - which means a lot of your customers won't be there every week.  Or do you want to distribute through stores?  Much more complicated, as far as I can tell.  Let us know what you decide and take us along for the ride if you decide to pursue the idea.  Some of the best threads here have been started by people deciding to market/develop an idea.  You'll find eG folks very interested and experienced.  

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13 hours ago, heidih said:

Green can parmesan on hot popcorn works 

 

Hmmmm - I don't think that's actually parm, but you knew that, @heidih!

 

I often use a mixture of oil (avo, safflower or some other high-heat stuff) and butter, and actually add some seasoning to the pot when I throw the kernels in (this is stovetop stuff, as I don't own a microwave). Sometimes, I'll use duck fat. I find it works quite well,

 

But back to the OP, only one way to find out, I think. And that's to make some, package it up, and find a flea market or local food fair to try and sell some. Or offer up some samples, and get some feedback from people who might be customers. I can't tell you how many people started selling with a little booth at a tiny fair we have in our backyard every summer weekend, who now have brick & mortar type places.

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Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

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I would be unlikely to purchase this in a store but. In a situation like @weinoo mentions above, where I could sample this amazing popcorn and read over the ingredients, I could be tempted. 

I agree with @heidih that microwave ovens are all over the place so you'd be wise to test your product in many of them.  

 

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Dear guys,

Thank you so much for all your answers, I can't tell you how much they are  helpful. Lots of points, I didn't think before! 

So, I did try to use my seasonings in the cooking pot… and the result was even better, then in the microwave. Also, then you miss an extra step... What an interesting turn! :)
 

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@pastrygirl 

Thank you for your good points, I'll think about it... Love your idea to increase the ways of using the product. Here, in Belgium, we like sweet toasts, like ones with Nutella or hagelslag ("shit of mouse" - small pieces of chocolate). At least, it may be used with toasts... And I like the idea about pasta… It was a very good point, thank you!
 

@Katie MeadowThank you for your feedback.  It's a good point about limited target auditory.. So, I’ve tried to use it in cooking pot - it works, too!
 

Edited by Galchic (log)
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@ElsieD Thank you for your sweet words! Yes, I did try, it works for popcorn made in a pot, and in this case, you don't need an extra step with microwave. The easier - the better! ;)

 

@Okanagancook

Thank you for your feedback. I did some research: popcorn manufactures & cinemas use a proportion like 50-86% of the sweetener to the weight of corn before it has been popped. I have no photos, sorry, as it's a very first step.. But I can tell about tastes. As I live in Belgium, and the Belgian chocolate is a subject of our national glory, I like to play with sweets, and my favs are:
- Dark chocolate with cayenne,
- Classic: caramel with sea salt,
- On the way: Pina Colada (rum & cocos) and pinda nuts.
 

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@heidih Thank you for your reply. I'm very much intrigued about Hawaiian Hurricane popcorn) Never met it before, sounds very special!

 

@TicTac 

Thank you. My product is only seasonings in the jar. The consumer makes popcorn himself at home, and adds my seasoning on popped popcorn, to flavor to it. 

About crispy part -  there are tons of recipes in Internet for homemade caramel popcorn, but in all of them you need to bake popcorn after covering with caramel in the oven for about 30-40 mins. Otherways popcorn comes chewy, sticky to fingers, and in a shape of one ball. So, it took time to find the recipe, where popcorn after be covered with caramel or something, stays crunchy without being baked in the oven, and I’m satisfied with my 2-mins-1-effort product & method.

 

@Kim Shook 

Yes, ma'am, correct. I’m thinking to start with eCommerce, as Kickstarter and Amazon.. Entering offline supermarkets requests a powerful contacts and marketing budget, so it's only workable the after concept has been proved with convincing sales. Thanks, SharkTank :)

Thank you for your feedback. It was inspiring, to read you ;)

 

@weinoo 

Thank you for your reply. Like your idea, it’s bold but efficient, cuz the demonstration part of my product is must. It's not only about taste, there are many nice seasonings on the market... But about the method - solving the problem in 2 mins with minimum efforts. Thank you for a good tip!

 

@blue_dolphin Thank you for your reply. Looks like the perfect way to find first consumers was found :)

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7 hours ago, Galchic said:

Here, in Belgium, we like sweet toasts, like ones with... hagelslag ("shit of mouse" - small pieces of chocolate).

 

Oh god, this is the best thing I've read in a while. Reminds me of when my dad told me that cotton candy in Greek is "malli tis grias" which means "old lady hair". All I could think was "EW gross who the hell wants to eat old lady hair" but apparently you guys are good with mouse shit in Belgium so I just don't know anymore.


 

 
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