Are You Getting Value For Money When You Buy a Bag of Popcorn?

Everybody loves to treat themselves to a snack throughout the day and one of the most popular treats is popcorn. These little bags need to protect the product inside with the addition of air both freshness and to avoid the contents being crushed in transit.

This air always goes through rigorous testing, such as air quality testing from Direct Air to make sure everything is up to code and fit to be in contact with food. While it’s great to know our favorite snacks are being properly tested and protected, is it also leading to consumers getting less for their money?

A recent study has revealed that we may not be getting value for money with some of our favorite brands, click here to see more. Consumers are already aware of the large amounts of air within crisps and many are taking a stand against certain brands until they change their ways, however, popcorn manufacturers have managed to slip the net, until now.


How Much Air Is In Your Popcorn?

The top popcorn brands and flavors were put to the test to see which manufacturer was giving the public the worst value for money. This was achieved by the water displacement method, the results were as follows (ranked most value for money to lease value):

Brand & Flavour Price per 100g (£) % of Air in Bag
Marks & Spencer: Salted Caramel 0.57 31
Butterkist: Toffee 1.00 44
Butterkist: Cinema Sweet 1.70 48
Tesco: Sweet & Salty 0.96 52
Waitrose: Sweet & Salty 1.11 53
Waitrose: Sea Salty 1.11 53
Proper Corn: Perfectly Sweet 1.78 54
Metcalfe’s: Sweet ‘n Salt 1.25 54
Marks & Spencer: Salted 1.54 55
Tesco: Salted 1.24 55
Tyrrell’s: Sea Salted 2.50 55
Metcalfe’s: Toffee Apple 2.25 55
Tyrell’s: Sweet 1.94 57
Nude: Simply Salted 1.92 62
Nude: Sweet & Salty 1.56 62
Proper Corn: Peanut Butter & Almond 1.60 71

Why Is Excess Air Bad?

As previously mentioned, the compressed air food industry has to go through rigorous compressed air quality testing standards to ensure that everything is suitable for consumption and products can’t become contaminated with anything harmful.

However, there are no regulations regarding how much of this air can be pumped into the packaging. This is leaving buyers feeling short-changed when they discover that the seemingly large bag actually contains very little to munch on.

Excess air also leads to excess packaging, the more air, the larger the packaging required. Popcorn is commonly placed in ‘pillow packs’ (the same packaging as crisps). These take an estimated 8 degrades to degrade and are not recyclable.

This means a huge number of packets are destined for the landfill every year, taking upwards of eighty years to finally disintegrate after just a few moments of enjoyment.

With so much focus on helping our planet and reducing plastic waste, why are these brands not doing the easiest and simplest steps to reduce their packaging, or is the temptation to pull customers in with the look of larger bags more appealing to them?


Who Is Making A Change?

The best scoring brand in the study was Marks & Spencer. The brand made a pledge last year to reduce their plastic packaging and to ensure any plastic within their products is fully recyclable by 2022.

It looks like they have stuck to their promise by already reducing their popcorn packaging dramatically.

However, brands such as Proper Corn seem to have ignored the importance of reducing plastic waste and continue to fill their bags with excess air.

Many brands argue this is necessary to protect their products but if other brands can achieve the same results with less air, why can’t others?


What Should You Do?

As a consumer, we all deserve to get the most of our money while also possessing the responsibility to make the right choices when it comes to environmental matters.

When looking to get the most value, take this study into account, don’t be duped by large, fancy pillow packets to entice you into a purchase. Take into consideration the actual contents.

Whether you are an environmental activist or not, we all know the importance of protecting the planet and reducing single-use plastics. By making the right choices, it will begin to put pressure on other brands as their sales deplete.

Many food manufacturers are feeling the pressure to change and it’s time to shed some light on the popcorn industry.

More awareness will lead to more change and it won’t just be snack companies who start to make a position alteration to their manufacturing process, once one industry has mastered a more environmentally friendly packaging solution, others will quickly follow.

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