US sales of bagged, pre-popped, ready-to-eat popcorn varieties grew to $750m in 2014 – up 25% on the previous year and up 60% since 2012, according to Rabobank International.
Bob Dunn, account manager for Cosmos Creations, said it was partly thanks to the popcorn boom that its extruded corn-based snack had seen such success.
“Here in the US popcorn is very popular and we’re a complimentary product to that – a lot of people associate us with popcorn, which is great because it’s so trendy right now so we’re kind of riding that wave,” he told BakeryandSnacks.com at Sweets & Snacks 2015 in May.
He said the company would look to find other complimentary product areas as it aimed to strengthen international presence, as well as consider manufacturing entirely different products that were in growth.
“Are there any countries experiencing that same interest in popcorn, or is it chips? It is Cheetos? What is interest in and can we, you know, find our niche in that industry? That’s where key partnerships work,” he said.
Operations outside the US currently represented fewer than 5% of total business, Dunn said – a figure the firm wanted to bolster to 15% in the next five years.
“It takes a while to find out who the key partners are to have and that they have the knowledge, background and contacts needed.”
He said Cosmos Creations had already identified and was working with several key partners in a number of global markets, including Japan and the Philippines, but the hope was to find more.
“I think China is going to be a good market because it’s emerging… We’ve also got interest from some countries that don’t have very good shipping logistics and that’s a big obstacle to overcome. So, the easiest thing for us is to partner with someone who is big enough to overcome a lot of these obstacles,” he said.
However, Dunn said plenty of growth could still happen on home turf.
“We’re still growing considerably in the US – there are many markets we haven’t tackled; there are many partners we’re not aligned with yet. There’s still so much opportunity for growth in the US.”
The company had, for example, launched two new flavor variants - pumpkin spice and caramel apple, he said.
Asked if Cosmos Creations would consider manufacturing products outside the US, he said: “We’ve spoken with a couple of people who are strategists for us about manufacturing overseas in Russia or the UK – those are two good markets they’ve helped us to identify, so we’re looking at it right now. I would say it’s premature, though, to speak about what we have identified as strategy.”