Movies Without Popcorn? Supply Chain Issues Cause a Shortage of the Salty Snack

Close-up on a woman serving popcorn at a concession stand at the cinema.
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As fans flocked to the opening weekend of “Top Gun: Maverick” to the tune of $300 million, movie theater owners celebrated. But behind the scenes, a scenario is unfolding that’s even more nail-biting than the incredible flight sequences on the screen. Will the concession stand have enough popcorn to satisfy hungry guests?

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As early as April 25, 2022, movie industry professionals were expecting a shortage of not just popcorn, but the containers it’s served in. The topic came up at CinemaCon, where Norm Krug, chief executive of Preferred Popcorn, said, “Popcorn supply will be tight.” His company is made up of farmers that supply popcorn kernels to movie theaters, according to an article in the Wall Street Journal.

Inflation and “other economic factors,” according to WSJ.com, are forcing the company to pay farmers more than in the past so they continue growing corn for popcorn instead of other crops that are more profitable and easier to grow, such as soybeans.

Additionally, the bags that traditionally hold popcorn are also hard to come by, because producers can’t secure the sheen linings that keep the butter flavoring from seeping out of the container. Of course, there are always cardboard buckets or even plastic containers, but that could drive up costs for movie theaters and, hence, consumers.

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Theater owners also mentioned other shortages spurred by supply chain issues, including certain soda flavors, nacho trays and drink cups. Meanwhile, owners told WSJ.com, that theatergoers are buying more goodies for the show than ever before.

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“People are spending [like] drunk sailors,” Brian Schultz, CEO of LOOK Dine-In Cinemas, told WSJ.com.

And what’s a trip to the movies without popcorn? “Pass the edamame,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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