Fun Facts About Popcorn

Here are some fun facts about popcorn for your pleasure (and to help you win trivia contests).

Empire State BuildingEmpire State Building

1. The amount of popcorn Americans eat every year would fill the Empire State Building 18 times. (We eat 17 billion—that’s “b” for billions—quarts annually).

2. The largest popcorn ball weighs 70 pounds and is valued at $700. (Wow—that’s $10 a pound! Now that’s expensive popcorn!)  It is in a popcorn shop in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. It will be auctioned off.

The ball is dyed red, white, and blue and was created for a New Year’s Eve popcorn ball drop.

The ball was stolen in March, 2017, but has been since recovered.

1 cup of un-popped popcorn kernelsOne measuring cup of un-popped popcorn kernels

3. Popcorn is the official snack food of Illinois and, since 1958, has had an annual “Popcorn Day.”

4. A popping popcorn kernel can fly up to 3 feet in the air as it is popping.

5. There are about 1,600 popcorn kernels in 1 cup.

snowflake and mushroom kernelsSnowflake and mushroom kernels

6. The ideal popping temperature for popcorn is 400-460° Fahrenheit. A kernel will pop, on average, when it reaches 347° Fahrenheit.

7. Popped popcorn comes in two basic shapes: snowflake and mushroom. Movie theaters prefer snowflake because it's bigger.

Here Are Some Additional Fun Facts About Popcorn

8. Nowadays, many movie theaters make a greater profit from popcorn than they do from ticket sales.

9. Christopher Columbus allegedly introduced popcorn to the Europeans in the late 15th century.

old maidUn-popped kernels are called Old Maids

10. If you laid popcorn kernels end to end from coast to coast beginning in New York City and ending in Los Angeles, it would take more than 350 million popped kernels to span the distance. Now that’s a lot of popcorn!

11. The un-popped kernels at the bottom of our bowl are called “old maids.”

12. Just like today, popcorn has always served more than one purpose including as a food source and for decorative or ceremonial purposes.

13. The scientific name for popcorn is zea mays everta, and it is the only type of corn that will pop and make popcorn. 

14. Some Native American tribes flavored popcorn with dried herbs and spice, even chili.

15. Native Americans made popcorn into soup and beer and made popcorn headdresses and corsages. (Now popcorn beer sounds interesting!)

the world’s largest popcorn ball measured 12 feet in diameterPopcorn fun fact: the world’s largest popcorn ball measured 12 feet in diameter

16. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest popcorn ball measured 12 feet in diameter and required 2,000 pounds of corn, 40,000 pounds of sugar, 280 gallons of corn syrup, and 400 gallons of water to make.

map of IllinoisPopcorn is official snack of IL

17. Kettle corn was first introduced in the early 1700’s. The Settlers would pop the popcorn in large cast iron kettles. They would use rendered lard and whatever sweetener they had on hand. Many times it was molasses, honey or sugar cane.

18. Popcorn is the official snack of Illinois.

And Even More Fun Facts About Popcorn: How About a Trail of Popcorn

19. If you made a trail of popcorn from New York City to Los Angeles, you would need more than 352,028,160 popped kernels.

20. There are 120 calories in 2 tablespoons of un-popped kernels; those 2 tablespoons will make 1 quart of popped popcorn.

21. It takes 135 pounds of pressure to pop popcorn.

22. January 19th is National Popcorn Day.

23. Americans eat more popcorn than any other country.

24. While other businesses failed in the Great Depression, the popcorn business thrived.

25. In movie theaters, for every dollar spent on popcorn, about 90 cents is profit.

For every dollar spent on popcorn at the movie theater, 90 cents is profit.Fun Fact About Popcorn: For every dollar spent on popcorn at the movie theater, 90 cents is profit.

26. An ear of corn averages 800 kernels in 16 rows.

27. A pound of corn consists of approximately 1,300 kernels.

More Fun Facts About Popcorn: Some Interesting Statistics:

28. National Today in 2017 surveyed 1,000 people about popcorn and found that over 9 in 10 Americans like popcorn.

29. Buttered popcorn is the favorite among men and women. Almost 41 percent of Americans like sweet popcorn.

30. Women are 30 percent more likely to choose kettle corn than men. Buttered popcorn is the favorite among men and women.

53% of Americans like Orville Redenbacher best.Fun Fact About Popcorn: 53% of Americans like Orville Redenbacher best.

31. 53% of Americans listed Orville Redenbacher as their favorite popcorn brand.

32. Approximately 70% of popcorn sold in America is eaten in the home. The other 30% is eaten in theaters, stadiums, school, etc.

And Even More Fun Facts About Popcorn

33. When popping, a popcorn kernel can reach a height of 3 feet.

A kernel of popcorn can reach up to 3 feet as it is being popped.Fun Fact About Popcorn: A kernel of popcorn and fly up to 3 feet as it is being popped.

34. By volume, popcorn is America’s favorite snack food.

35. Autumn is the peak time for popcorn consumption, followed by the winter months. Popcorn sales taper off during the spring and summer.

What fun facts do you have about popcorn?

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For more fun facts about popcorn visit Easy Science for Kids.