Our esteemed editor Merril Boulton loves a Sherbet Lemon and Bassett’s are her favourite, so she was delighted with the news that brand owner Mondelez is promoting ’adult candy’ via a major relaunch. She’s hoping her favourites will then be more widely available. Whenever I see them in a shop, I do buy her some (what a creep, I hear you say) and typically they are found in forecourt stores, so that’s good for business.
However while shopping in, dare I say it, Tesco the other day, I spied sherbet lemon flavoured popcorn. Yes, you read that right Portlebay Popcorn in a sherbet lemon flavour. The bag said: "Lemony fizziness that simply makes you smile" and the product description said ’Crunchy, sweet pocorn. Pop. Bang. Fizz’. Of course, I had to buy some for Merril. I thought it would be horrible but actually it was rather good I was amazed and tucked into far too much. It was a hit with Merril too, who is a real sherbet lemon connoisseur.
All this got me thinking about popcorn generally. You see when I was a girl, the only popcorn you could get was Butterkist covered in toffee mmmm. I remember on one of my first trips to the US, ordering popcorn at the cinema and thinking it was disgusting because they had smothered it in liquid butter. How times and tastes change, as now you can get all sorts of popcorn concoctions both sweet and savoury.
Nielsen stats have the popcorn market currently worth £116.2m and growing by 25.7% year-on-year. And it is expected to be worth £207m by 2017.
The aforementioned Butterkist (which is, as a brand, more than 100 years old) is a case in point, as numerous flavours of the popcorn are now available including rather amazingly a limited-edition Hot Cross Bun variety. Available from February 15, brand owner Tangerine says it will be the first hot cross bun popcorn on the market. It was developed following consumer research, which found that 95% of consumers are interested in seasonal popcorn.
Another new launch is Yogurt Coated Butterkist. I haven’t tried either of these new varieties and, to be honest don’t particularly like the sound of them but as the Sherbet Lemon Portlebay Popcorn experience has taught me they may well prove to be delicious.