Fun and convenience: The drivers behind ConAgra’s pop up popcorn bowl

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

ConAgra hopes the Pop Up Bowl will burst with success in Canada
ConAgra hopes the Pop Up Bowl will burst with success in Canada

Related tags: Popcorn

The success of ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher’s pop up bowl has been underpinned by fun and convenience, a company brand manager says.

The flexible packaging concept enables a stand-alone bowl to form when microwaved and a clear film design on the bottom and top of the pack allows consumers to watch the corn kernels popping in the microwave.

The concept was formed in the late 1990s with the final format developed between 2009 and 2010. The design incorporates a wider-mouth and sturdy sides to ensure a free-standing function.

ConAgra Foods launched its Orville Redenbacher Pop Up Bowl in Canada two months ago after US sales soared by more than 8% following a launch in February 2011. The packaged food firm hopes to achieve similar growth rates in Canada.

According to a Datamonitor report, Canada's popcorn market increased at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 7.8% between 2004 and 2009 and the microwaveable segment led the market in 2009 with a 92.4% share. The report cited ConAgra as the leading player in the Canadian market.

ConAgra's Orville Redenbacher's popcorn brand also featured as the fifth favorite snack brand in the US, according to a consumer poll conducted by YouGov BrandIndex last year.

Harminder Singh, brand manager for Orville Popcorn at ConAgra Foods Canada, said that the fun and convenience behind the packaging concept has driven business.

“We find consumers respond well to snacks that are delicious, fun and also easy and convenient,”​ Singh told

The clear film peels back
The clear film peels back

The ease factor

“Since its inception more than 30 years ago, microwave popcorn has been consumed in essentially the same packaging that people buy, and enjoy, today. The Pop Up Bowl was developed and designed in response to both inspiration and observation,”​ she said.

The brand manager cited research conducted by Communispace Omnibus with Walmart shoppers that showed consumers complained about popcorn bags tipping over when eating directly from the bag.

“The Pop Up Bowl makes for easier sharing as there is no need to pour popped corn into another bowl.”

Seeing is believing

Singh pointed out that another important part of the pack design was the clear film top and bottom as it enabled consumers to watch the kernels popping.

“ConAgra Foods’ research, quality and innovation (RQI) team conducted consumer work that uncovered a key insight; many consumers under the age of 25 had never actually seen popcorn pop. Their parents grew up with jars of kernels and items like stove-top pans, and stirrers to air poppers which allowed you to watch the popcorn popping. For younger consumers, their first exposure to popcorn came when they opened an already popped bag out of the microwave,” ​she said.

Recently launched versions in Canada replace the three, six and ten count packs in a host of flavors – Smart Pop!, Buttery, Extra Buttery, Light Buttery and Select White.

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