Microwave popcorn startup Opopop raises $5M forward of product launch

Dive Transient:

  • Microwave popcorn startup Opopop has raised $5 million in a Sequence A funding spherical led by Valor Siren Ventures forward of its official product launch on June 7, 2021. Different buyers within the spherical embody Peter Rahal, founding father of RXBAR and Litani Ventures; Batsh** Loopy Ventures; DJ and music producer Tiësto; and director Jimmy Chin. This brings Opopop’s complete funding to $11.6 million.
  • Opopop is launching a direct-to-consumer microwavable popcorn known as Taste Wrapped Popcorn Kernels. It claims its know-how wraps every kernel in flavoring earlier than popping. The snacks shall be accessible in six flavors: Salted Umami, Fancy Butter, Chedapeno, Maui Warmth, Cinnalicious and Vanilla Cake Pop.
  • The startup is launching its first product within the fast-growing popcorn class as snacking enjoys a lift through the pandemic, with customers upping their consumption of candy and salty gadgets.

Dive Perception:

In its announcement on the funding spherical and product launch, Opopop cites the popcorn class’s 13% progress charge in 2020. On the identical time, it claims there has not been any main innovation within the area for the reason that late Seventies, and goals to be a disruptor. 

“Let’s be sincere, placing popcorn in a potato chip bag is not precisely inspiring. Popcorn lovers have needed to accept lower than one of the best popcorn for too lengthy. And we’re right here to repair that after and for all,” stated Jonas Tempel, co-founder and CEO of Opopop, in an announcement. Tempel and co-founder Bradley Roulier have an entrepreneurial background within the music trade. 

Popcorn has seen new curiosity from customers who began upping their consumption in 2018, in response to analysis from Mintel. Between 2012 and 2017, retail popcorn gross sales grew 32%. The most important progress driver within the phase has come from ready-to-eat manufacturers and customers’ starvation for savory and indulgent flavors together with cheese, chocolate and caramel.

Opopop’s emphasis on distinctive flavors like Chedapeno and Salted Umami may assist it seize customers’ curiosity, in addition to traditional varieties like butter. Masking each bases may assist it enchantment to a broader viewers as many customers turned to acquainted flavors and consuming experiences through the pandemic.  

Opopop can be launching with backing and management from CPG snacking veterans. This consists of RXBAR founder Rahal, who shifted to a technique function with the clean-label bar model because it was acquired by Kellogg in 2017. Firm president Sarah McDowell served in advertising and brand-building roles for better-for-you snack maker Larabar earlier than and after its 2008 acquisition by Basic Mills.

Having a give attention to taste and skilled gamers on the helm shall be property for Opopop because it enters the extremely aggressive popcorn phase, the place legacy manufacturers and new entrants are aiming to snag a share of the growing demand. Within the microwave popcorn area, this consists of Conagra Manufacturers’ Orville Redenbacher‘s and Act II, and Jolly Time’s Blast O Butter. 

Inside ready-to-eat popcorn, which has taken a substantial chew out of microwave popcorn’s market share, Opopop faces competitors from a number of Large Meals gamers. In 2017, Conagra purchased Angie’s Boomchickapop for $250 million, which additionally focuses on distinctive taste mixtures. Later that very same yr, Hershey introduced it was buying SkinnyPop guardian firm Amplify Snack Manufacturers for $1.6 billion.

Hershey additionally owns a stake in what could also be one in all Opopop’s most direct opponents, Quinn Snacks. The corporate launched with a give attention to transparency and has its personal line of non-GMO, natural microwave popcorn in distinctive flavors akin to White Cheddar & Sea Salt and Aged Parmesan & Rosemary. It additionally has expanded into pretzels and has a retail footprint at greater than 7,500 shops.

Opopop shall be putting its pure DTC strategy, flavoring know-how and CPG management up in opposition to a spread of opponents, massive and small, who deliver their very own strengths within the battle for snacking market share.    

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