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Jan 20, 2010 07:38 PM

Where has all the popcorn gone?

A few weeks ago, I started noticing that popcorn, the kind you pop in a pan, was always out of stock at my local Safeway (Inner Richmond). The last time I was there, the space where the popcorn used to be was filled in with yet more brands of microwave popcorn.

Today I was in Mill Valley, and decided to see if I could pick up some popcorn at that Safeway. They had 32 (I counted) types of microwave popcorn, and no regular popcorn. I asked, and was told that they "reset" the section the night before, and they were no longer carrying regular popcorn.

Am I alone in thinking this is absurd? Can I be the only one who enjoys real popcorn, and thinks it shouldn't be a specialty store kind of item?

Has anyone else noticed popcorn missing from their local stores?

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  1. I saw standard PC (non-MW) at Lucky's, 3-4 varieties. I almost got it but I'm waiting to see if there's organic or go to a bulk place like Berkeley Bowl (but I keep forgetting).

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      I really like the bulk popcorn at Berkeley Bowl. It always tastes a lot fresher than the pre packaged kernels I've bought.

    2. I agree, it's absurd.

      You could try asking the store manager to carry regular popcorn but it might be a waste of time.

      I pop popcorn in the microwave with a bit of oil (you can even leave that out), a brown lunch bag and a couple of staples. I see no reason to use the prepackaged envelopes with their higher cost, fixed amount and additional ingredients.

      I've been looking for non-standard popcorn in stores to try. Whole Foods has only regular popcorn. I did find a couple of diferent kinds at Sur La Table. I'll probaby go Internet shopping soon.

      2 Replies
      1. re: wambold

        Good suggestion of popping your own in the micro. but i thought the rule was: place no metal objects in the micro. But staples are ok?? No fires?

        1. re: escargot3

          No fires yet :-)

          "Zero metal" can't be right, because some microwave foods have thin sheets of metal foil in the box. I think Stouffer's Chicken Pot Pie is an example.

          I learned the brown bag technique from the Good Eats cooking show. If you go to , you can find Ear Apparent's transcript, how to pop in a microwave is at the very end. In a later book, Brown said you don't really need the oil either.

          Alton Brown also did a whole episode on popcorn called "Pop Art" where he used a 6qt bowl as a popper. I suspect that the stovetop method might do a better job, but I'm lazy and I'm usually popping for a toddler size appetite.

      2. I had been working on a big plastic container of Orville Redenbacher popcorn from the grocery store (the only non-microwave option there) and didn't realize how bad it was until I got some of the tiny organic white popcorn from the bulk section of Berkeley Bowl. It's delicate and tender and delicious. But, yeah, I shouldn't have to go to a special store to find it.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Constant Velocity

          I had no idea Berkeley Bowl had bulk popcorn. I'll have to go look for that now. There are always a few different kinds of popcorn available at Andronico's, but I'm curious about the bulk popcorn.

        2. I stopped in Safeway. It isn't my usual store, but was close-by and found the popcorn missing except for a very expensive brand. Yep - it is disappearing. I don't like microwave popcorn, because I want to vary the amount of oil, salt, and the flavor according to my whim of the day.

          But I did notice that the RWC Costco carries big buckets of Orville Redenbocker popcorn, so you might be able to find it there.

          1. I was quite surprised to find plastic jars of store-brand white popcorn at my local Safeway (Mission & 30th) the last time I was there. They also had yellow store-brand popcorn in plastic jars. This was a first for me. As most have said, microwave popcorn is more the norm these days. Yech!