Popcornopolis – a brand built on nostalgia – aims to serve as a reminder of simpler times when products made from family recipes were passed down for generations. By using old-fashioned caramel, confectioner’s chocolate and an iconic cone-shaped package, Popcornopolis sparks memories of getting a special treat at a county fair.
“We’re always getting messages from people saying: ‘I’m not near my relatives or my friends, but I know I can send them something that they’ll enjoy, and that makes me feel a little bit closer to them even if I’m far away,’” Brittany Alfonzo, Social Media and Public Relations Manager, said. “That’s really the joy our gifts can bring.”
Entrepreneurs Wally and Kathy Arnold, who were determined to create the world’s best popcorn, founded the brand in 2002. Wally Arnold spent over a year attempting to create the world’s best Caramel Corn – a product that has drawn consumers to the brand ever since. The iconic cone-shaped package is a Popcornopolis staple that not only preserves the popcorn, but serves as a memorable brand signature.
The Arnolds’ first retail store still stands today at Universal Studios Hollywood and delights travelers from around the world with sweet and savory treats such as Caramel Corn and their trademarked Zebra Popcorn, as well as more health-conscious options such as Nearly Naked popcorn. Today, the popcorn is sold in over 12,000 locations including grocery stores, sports arenas, and theme parks.
The company is headquartered out of a state-of-the-art 160,000 SQ FT facility in Vernon, California. Even though the company has now grown to over 150 employees, the company still embodies the family-owned and operated philosophy that Wally and Kathy set forth sixteen years ago. The team puts quality above everything and always uses American grown corn from the Midwest and non-GMO whole kernels.
“Working at Popcornopolis is like working in the modern Willy Wonka factory!” Phil Fox, VP of Product Development, said. “From the ownership to the factory chefs, everyone at Popcornopolis is guided by the knowledge that we are all working hard to create the best product possible, and we take pride in what we create and the memories we make for our customers.”
The Popcornopolis team is constantly working to expand its product line by creating new flavors every week. Although most of the flavors never make their way to the market, this experimentation is how they create unique tastes like Apple Pie, Cinnamon Bun, Key Lime Pie, and Red Velvet. The company taps into its consumer base to keep up with trends and changing flavor profiles, which helps boost creativity resulting in new popcorn flavors like Big Buffalo and Hot Cocoa and Marshmallow. The company also strives to go beyond food trends to examine consumers’ lifestyles and general interests.
“We noticed a huge resonance with unicorns for people of all ages, so we actually released a unicorn popcorn last month – incredible – from really bright, exciting packaging to amazing, bold flavor popcorn,” Alfonzo said. “That was really a great achievement for us. The product incorporates beautiful, bold colors like blue, purple, yellow, and is made with natural ingredients.”
The holidays are a busy time for the brand. According to Alfonzo, the company considers its products an enhanced version of classic gifts like gourmet popcorn tins and gift baskets. Popcornopolis recently executed a Halloween promotional product – Monster Mini Cones – which are small themed popcorn cones that offer an alternative to Halloween candy. The team believes their product is special, and that they are creating more than just a snack.
“One thing I think that everyone here knows is that everyone has a popcorn story,” Alfonzo said. “Whether it is making popcorn at home with your grandparents or eating popcorn at a memorable sporting event – everyone has that nostalgic experience. It is such a special product and very rare in consumer-packaged goods in that it is not just delicious, but it kind of takes you back to a special memory or a happy thought.”
Popcornopolis has adapted to shifting food trends by creating healthier products such as the better-for-you Nearly Naked popcorn popped in coconut oil. The brand will also continue to focus on low-sugar products for more health-conscious consumers, bringing forward the naturally healthy attributes of the popular snack. The team is hard at work in the test kitchen to bring lighter, but equally indulgent, products to market.
“It is great because popcorn can really be a more healthful treat – but be equally satisfying as well, and there are so many different options out there,” Alfonzo said. “We think that is so exciting. We know our customers are more health focused day after day, so we really want to stay on top of that trend and on top of what they care about.”
On top of everything else the team is proud of, the company also boasts having a passionate, loyal following of customers who have memories and happy thoughts connected to the brand.
In 2019, Popcornopolis is expanding its reach into more stores nationwide and offering products that have on-trend ingredients, organic offerings, inventive flavor profiles and more savory options.
Take a virtual tour of the Popcornopolis Factory here!