Make & Sell Gourmet Popcorn

When deciding to get into the food business, you can start a staple business selling commodities such as bread or even donuts meaning you have to sell a lot at modest margins to stay competitive to be successful, or you can aim at the higher end of the market selling less of a premium product at a higher margin. Today we look at one of those businesses: gourmet popcorn.

What is gourmet popcorn
Gourmet popcorn is popcorn that retails at the top end of the market, it is a premium product usually sold at “artisanal” or “hand-made” shops and markets. This means it is not the mass produced dreck you buy at Nu Metro instead it is “handmade” with a “proprietary” recipe. Great care is made to make the product as tasty as possible (people pay a premium for it after all). I recommend a sweet coated popcorn made from mushroom kernels. If you want to try a salty popcorn from standard butterfly kernels you can but it has to be very tasty.

Here are some ideas from the fantastic KingOfPopcorn:

If you remember Diddle Daddle that is a mass produced coated popcorn. By targeting the premium market you are able to make less and charge more.

I would say a bag of artisanal gourmet popcorn should retail at around R20 a bag; to produce it should not cost more than R5 (all costs including distribution included). If you are selling to a shop you going to have to let it sell at R15 wholesale, if you selling it yourself at a stall: R20. This will give you a profit of R10 per bag (the stall won’t be free) and that is the least margin you should go for (these are minimum amounts I’m quoting here) if you can get that total cost per bag below R5 even better.

This business suits “artisanal” or “hand-made” markets, it can also be sold in higher end shops. However for a premium business branding is key, so you need a catchy name, I was going to suggest something like “Mad Jester” but if I remember correctly Jumping Jack has a jester (which looks like a “Jack-in-the-box”) on the bag. Anyway I’m sure you can think up a hipster name. The logo needs to be professional and the package needs to say “this is not the mass produced crap you buy at Checkers”. So perhaps a paper bag or even those cones they used to sell the popcorn in.

The recipe
This is very important, you need a recipe that will make the popcorn taste like an indulgent treat instead of a quick snack. Look on the internet if you have no experience in this but you have to adapt it to make it your own. Also remember the majority of coated popcorn recipes use air popped popcorn. This means it is popped using hot air and not oil. These machines are sold in various shops, there are also ways to air popcorn in a microwave.

Here are some ideas I found on the internet (just don’t go too crazy)

Business Model Manufacturing
See Also Niche Business Ideas
Industry Food

Image credits: kernelseasons, kingofpop, pinterest, simplytaralynn

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