July 10 - Consumers should prepare to dig deeper into their pockets for a favorite snack, popcorn will soon be more costly as droughts in the Midwest push corn prices higher. Bobbi Rebell reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS 4:3 MATERIAL Popcorn prices could soon.. well.. pop. Sizzling weather in the farm belt is killing a lot of the corn crop, driving up prices. Garry Smith, President of Iowa based JOLLYTIME pop corn: SOUNDBITE: GARRY SMITH, PRESIDENT, JOLLYTIME POPCORN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The corn clearly is showing stress around here. The dryland corn you can see it curling." JOLLYTIME locks in its prices with farmers ahead of the season- so it isn't raising prices- yet. SOUNDBITE: GARRY SMITH, PRESIDENT, JOLLYTIME POPCORN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "If it stays up in this area then we have to be competitive to get a popcorn grower to grow popcorn. And so we'll have to increase our contract price next year and unfortunately that means there will be another consumer price increase." Analysts agree higher prices for supermarket popcorn products like microwave popcorn are just a matter of time Marc Schober of Colvin and company: SOUNDBITE: MARC SCHOBER, ASSOCIATE, COLVIN AND COMPANY (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think that you could see popcorn prices increase in the supermarket anywhere from five to fifteen percent if this drought doesn't fix itself here with some rain in the very near future." REPORTER BRIDGE: BOBBI REBELL, REUTERS REPORTER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Americans eat a whole lot of popcorn. Some 16 billion quarts a year according to the Popcorn Board. That's about 52 quarts per person." The good news: movie theater popcorn may get a pass: Bob Goldin of food industry consulting firm Technomic: SOUNDBITE: BOB GOLDIN, EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT, TECHNOMIC (ENGLISH) SAYING: "The price is already at nose bleed levels and I think consumers would balk at further price increases and secondly and probably more importantly is that the popcorn portion of the product is a very, very low percentage so for a dollar bag of popcorn which we never see- the popcorn portion alone is 5, or 6, or 7 cents so an increase in the underlying commodity really won't have much impact on margin for the retailer and hopefully they will absorb it." At Dylans Candy Bar in New York City- popcorn sales have been on the rise.. thanks to their creative gourmet flavors and fresh popcorn. And consumers say they still want their popcorn fix even if prices go higher. SOUNDBITE: MOLLY LIEBER, POPCORN CONSUMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I would still get it, particularly at the movies. I think it's a staple that you have to get when you go." More good news for popcorn lovers - weather forecasts are for rain later this week. Bobbi Rebell, Reuters.