The two years of the Coronavirus pandemic have changed our life drastically. We have witnessed a shift in the way we work, how we unwind and what we eat. Healthy food and immunity-boosting has become a priority – but so has comfort food. We have a ton of feel-good snacks that we keep handy to cheer us up or simply keep up spirits during these testing times. Microwave popcorn has emerged as an unlikely favourite comfort food in the pandemic. The sale of microwave popcorn has witnessed an unprecedented surge in Europe, and here’s all you need to know about it.
Currently, cinemas remain closed or operate at limited capacity in most European countries. This may have caused an impact on popcorn sales in theatres but has also simultaneously led to an increase in sales of microwave popcorn.
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Natais is one of Europe’s biggest popcorn producers based in France and accounts for 40% of popcorn sales in the European market. Its current chief executive Michael Ehmann had set up the company in 1994 and has witnessed an uptick in microwave popcorn sales in Europe. “The health crisis has had negative consequences for our network of suppliers to cinemas, but also positive consequences, because sales of microwavable popcorn have risen sharply,” Ehmann told AFP.
Last year indeed saw sales of microwavable bags taking off, according to sales director Helene Ricau. “The market was already expanding in Europe, but with the health crisis, microwavable popcorn has exploded,” she told AFP. “During the lockdowns, people discovered popcorn as a sort of comfort food in these gloomy times,” added Ricau.
Natais sold more than 200 million bags of popcorn in Europe in 2020 and 207 million in 2021. “We’re targeting annual growth rates of 4.0-5.0 percent in the coming years. Unlike in the US, the market has not yet reached maturity in Europe,” Ricau said.
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