Grupo Bimbo enters US ready-to-eat popcorn market with acquisition of Popcornopolis

USA – Mexican multinational food company,  Grupo Bimbo has purchased gourmet popcorn brand Popcornopolis in an effort to expand its presence in the US snack market.  

The acquisition whose terms were not disclosed was made by the mexican-based company through its U.S. snack division Barcel USA.   

Popcornopolis offers indulgent flavors like Zebra, Unicorn and Double Drizzle, as well as what the company calls “better-for-you favorites” Nearly Naked and Kettle Corn.  

The popcorn brand has been under the umbrella of the private equity group NexPhase Capital since 2019, and the partnership was focused on expanding distribution channels as well as the company’s direct-to-consumer sales.   

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Under the guidance of NexPhase, Popcornopolis  launched a line of everyday snack products and now has a foot in both indulgent snacks and healthier options.  

Its acquisition marks the Barcel USA’s  first foray into the popcorn segment, departure from its normal strategy which usually involves expansion of an already existing product line.  

“We have only scratched the surface of the potential of this brand, and we are excited to introduce more consumers to our wildly delicious, indulgent popcorn as part of Barcel USA’s leading snack platform,” said Danny Simon, CEO of Popcornopolis.  

Jamie Kaufman, a partner at NexPhase, added: “We are proud to have been a part of Popcornopolis’ remarkable growth over the past two years”.  

“With Popcornopolis’ focus on quality, innovation and omnichannel sales, the brand will be an excellent addition to Barcel USA’s impressive snack portfolio.”  

In acquiring Popcornopolis, Barcel is jumping into a competitive category where it will be coming up against some of the food industry’s largest titans.   

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Frito Lay’s Smartfood currently leads the segment, with sales of US$424.9 million in 2020, according to IRI data reported by Bakery and Snacks.    

In 2019, PepsiCo extended its leadership position by acquiring BFY Brands, which makes popcorn crisps PopCorners.    

Hershey is also a major player in the segment being the owner of established brands like Skinny Pop and Pirate’s Booty, which it acquired in 2017 for US$1.6 billion.  

Despite competition, the snack segment has been attractive to manufacturers over the past two years, growing to a market value of US$1.2 trillion in 2020, according to Mondelez’s State of Snacking report.  

Grupo Bimbo recently debuted Takis Pop, a popcorn product with the same strong flavor as original Takis.   

While spicy and global flavors are ballooning in popularity, some consumers are more interested in classic tastes — a profile Popcornopolis brings to the Grupo Bimbo portfolio. 

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