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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 http://goodeatsfanpage.com/GEFP/index... , 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!

            1. I agree that is absurd. Most natural food stores carry it though and it's an item you can stock up on, just keep it in a well sealed jar.

              1. Safeway has a lot of odd policies for a company that is putatively trying to protect its market share from encroachment by Whole Foods and the like. Just try to find some milk without stabilizers and dehydrated milk solids. Even the organic stuff is doctored. I'm told Clover is occasionally available but sells out quickly at the Market St. Safeway in San Francisco, but I absolutely refuse to go back after a few experiences there. One wonders why they don't just stock more Clover if it sells out more often than not. Rainbow Grocery carries Clover for more than a buck less per half gallon than any of Safeway's rBGH-free multi-ingredient imitation milks.

                2 Replies
                1. re: SteveG

                  What in the world does this reply have to do with popcorn?

                  1. re: Euonymous

                    Not much, aside from Safeway applying the same philosophy to milk that they do to popcorn: they have lots and lots of options, but none of them are the real thing.

                2. Lucky on Fulton and Masonic has non-microwave popcorn.

                  1. I have found a decent version at Walgreens of all places. Can't remember the brand but it is half the price of Orville R's and comes in the same type of plastic container.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: trespinero

                      Oh cool, I'll have to look for that.

                    2. Smart and Final sells large bags of Jiffy.

                      1. For really delicious movie theater stylepopcorn (the kind popped at the theater, not transported in) try Whirly Pop popcorn by Wabash family Farms. The popcorn and stovetop popper are sold as a set, but many vendors sell the popcorn separately. It is not lo-cal, but the tasty real thing when you choose to splurge.

                        Wabash Family Farms

                        Work at Someone's in the Kitchen in Oakland/ Montclair and we carry the set and product. Check out their websire for locations near you. The set also makes a great family gift.


                        2 Replies
                        1. re: macadam

                          It is good! I got four packets when I bought my Whirly-Pop popper. I think I need to get some more.

                          1. re: macadam

                            Whirley Pop just plain works, just like macadam said. Stone simple and the very best popcorn result.

                          2. my local SF popcorn source is Country Cheese at 415 Divisadero Street between Fell and Oak streets - it's in the bulk bins

                            Country Cheese
                            415 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA

                            1. Cal-Mart (California & Laurel) has several varieties of "real" popcorn in stock.

                              1. I am a great fan of Black Jewel popcorn. The corn is black and pops up in white, tasty, small kernels. I can't seem to find it locally any more. Williams Sonoma used to carry it but no longer.

                                1. I bought a 4lb bag of Jiffy Pop at Smart and Final in my neighborhood today. I don't remember the exact price, but it was pretty cheap.

                                  I do like fancy popcorns, but I like knowing there's a supply of the cheap stuff in my neighborhood, since I make it every day.

                                  1. I always get it in bulk at either Whole Foods or Berkeley Bowl. The bulk popcorn tastes so much better and pops up bigger. You can also get Rancho Gordo popcorn; you'll pay extra for it, but it's fantastic -- you can find it at their stand at the FP Farmer's Market and other retail markets where they sell.

                                    1. 50 lb bags yellow popcorn at Smart and Final $29 also 10 lb bags for $9.

                                      1. I totally agree with you dude.. its absurd..