This winter we might have to pay a higher price for popcorn when we watch a film. The supply of this tasty snack may be lower than usual because popcorn growers in the Midwestern United States could not plant as early as they wished to, due to persistent rains this past spring, reports United Press International.
Popcorn (Zea mays var. everta) is a Native American plant grown for its tasty, exploding kernels. The United States is thought to grow and consume most of the world’s popcorn.
This year, producers estimated that up to 40 per cent of the U.S. popcorn fields were not planted this past spring, and some of the planted crops are not growing well.
Patrick Hopkins, owner of Amish Country Popcorn, a distributor in Indiana, warned about potential scarcity, since many growers could not get their fields planted. Moreover, some fields were planted too late to get the usual yield by fall. And there are areas experiencing extremely high rainfall which threatens the young plants.
As a result of a smaller than usual supply, the price of popcorn will be higher than usual ─ an estimated 10 to 20 per cent ─ and that increase will be passed on to the buyer.
There are no annual official stats on popcorn production, so the impact of reduced planting on the supply or prices is unknown, but it tends to follow corn, and corn planting is behind. Most of the corn grown in the U.S. is field corn, a variety used for animal feed and ethanol, and processed as food ingredients. Popcorn is a niche market that accounts for less than 3 per cent of the surface area devoted to corn.