Popcorn - One of the Most Profitable Consumable Products Around
Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popcorn annually and, with 4.8 billion quarts being consumed at commercial locations outside of the home, it's no surprise that popcorn is one of the most profitable consumable products around. As Leidra points out in Increase Your Profits with Popcorn, you can make up to an 87% profit on an order of popcorn. You don't need to be a grizzled entrepreneur or an experienced concessionaire to understand the significance of that number.
The WEBstaurant Store offers plenty of bags, boxes, and tubs to merchandise your product, and popcorn poppers and popcorn warmers / staging cabinets will help you make popcorn and hold it for serving. But what you're popping is just as important as the equipment you use, if not more so. This guide will take you through our selection of products to help you pick the right ones for your application!
The WEBstaurant Store offers you a selection of butterfly kernels, mushroom kernels, and a delicious blend of the two, as well as medium to large kernel size options to fit any need. While the kernels initially appear to be identical, each type will yield popcorn that is unique in its structure, benefits, and uses, so it is important that you are aware of these differences before choosing kernels for your popcorn application.
Structure: These kernels produce tender popcorn and assume a final product shape that appears to be the result of a haphazard explosion with fragile, branching wings.
Uses: Butterfly kernels are frequently used to make traditional popcorn for movie theaters, stadiums, and carnivals.
Benefits: The non-uniform shapes produced by butterfly kernels allow you to fill serving sizes with less product to maximize profits. Butterfly kernels also provide what is, without any coatings or post-pop flavorings, generally regarded as a better-tasting product. Its hull is also less invasive than in the next kernel type-mushroom.
Structure: These kernels yield ball-shaped popcorn that is slightly denser, more rigid, and less breakable than butterfly kernels.
Uses: Mushroom kernels are most often used in gourmet popping applications where caramel, cheese, chocolate, or other coatings are applied. Mushroom kernels are also the kernel of choice for making kettle corn.
Benefits: The consistently round shape has dual benefits to make mushroom the kernel of choice for gourmet popping applications. First, the round shape provides a larger surface area for the coatings to stick to. Second, because mushroom kernels don't produce popcorn with tender wings like butterfly kernels do, they hold up much better in the coating process so that you're not left with an excess of leftover crumbs.
Mushroom/Butterfly Kernel Blend
This mixture of kernels gives you the best of both worlds! Mushroom kernels make blends great for coating applications, while butterfly kernels add some extra, natural flavor and also help to fill bags and buckets quicker.
1. any of several varieties of corn whose kernels burst open and puff out when subject to dry heat.
When you're deciding what kernels to buy, you will read and hear certain terms that may be unfamiliar to you, but are very important in choosing your product.
The expansion rate of popcorn kernels is a measurement of the amount of popcorn the kernels will yield. An expansion rate between 35 to 38 is considered to be of good quality, but many of the kernels sold here at webstaurantstore.com will actually exceed 38. What that means, for example, is that one cup of kernels with an expansion rate of 38 will produce 38 cups of popped popcorn.
If you are considering investing in one of two 50 lb. bags of kernels, for example, taking note of the expansion rate is crucial because the actual volume that you receive from each bag may be different.
The moisture content of a popcorn kernel is of utmost importance because it, along with your source of heat, is what makes the kernel pop! Each kernel consists of water and starch that is concealed inside of the hull so that when the kernel heats up, the water expands and pressure builds up within the hull. The pressure will eventually create that unmistakable “pop” as the hull gives way to inflated starch that turns the kernel inside out.
To ensure maximum popping efficiency, it is best to strive for kernels with a moisture content somewhere between 13% to 14.5%. While popcorn with a lower moisture content may not pop to its fullest potential, leading to unpopped kernels rolling around at the bottom of your customers’ bags, popcorn with a higher moisture content may yield a chewy product and limit its expansion rate. The quality of your product is taking a hit in either scenario, so it is always important to be aware of the kernels’ moisture content.
With a clear understanding of “moisture content” and its effects on popcorn kernels, it stands to reason that the way you store the kernels is also very important. Storing them in a hot, humid environment can increase moisture content and potentially cause mold, while storing them in a cold, dry environment (such as a refrigerator) can decrease the moisture content and leave you with unpoppable kernels.
Once you open your bag of kernels, then, it is best to store them in a sealed container at
room temperature to block out humidity and maintain a constant moisture content.