Why schools should consider selling popcorn.
So many schools participate in candy fundraising. Let’s face it, products like chocolate, lollipops, and gummies are impulse buys with a powerful force that can’t be resisted. It also helps that candy’s been around for a long time, millions love it, and it sells extremely well. People enjoy the taste, and it’s inexpensive. Who can resist their urges? The sweet tooth is simply overwhelming.
According to Statista, 265.91 million Americans consumed candy in the U.S. in 2019. That’s an extraordinary statistic representing over 80% of the population.
But with so many organizations already selling candy in a crowded marketplace, are there other viable options to make your group’s fundraiser more distinctive?
Ultimately, the goal is to sell a product that most people can still identify with but will make your group unique. Groups should be looking for creative alternatives; one product worth considering is a popcorn fundraiser.
The advantages of popcorn fundraisers over candy make it a great choice because:
1. Popcorn Fundraiser Nutritional Advantages
Depending on how it’s cooked, many consider popcorn a healthy food. Plain popcorn is high in protein, minerals, and vitamins. Corn has been a primary staple in our diets for centuries because it is rich in nutrients—popcorn supplies more iron than eggs, roast beef, peanuts, or milk. Calcium can be found in greater abundance in popcorn than in many other foods. And popcorn has more antioxidants than fruits and vegetables and is gluten-free.
On the other hand, popcorn may not be as nutritious once ingredients like caramel, cheese, or cinnamon are added.
Since many schools have restricted the selling of candy due to health concerns, popcorn remains a viable alternative.
2. Popcorn Still Tastes Great
Like candy, popcorn is universally popular and well-recognized. Many have grown to love the irresistible taste of well-seasoned popcorn. It’s also a product that most can’t resist when approached by a motivated seller. Many people, however, don’t realize that popcorn can also be good for you.
3. Popcorn Fundraising is More Distinctive
Like a candy bar fundraiser, popcorn is famous but still considered a unique enough product to get people’s attention. It seems that everyone is already selling candy. Let’s face it; candy is a safe bet because it sells. On the other hand, popcorn seems to stand out more to buyers. One exciting trend that is ongoing with popcorn is a phenomenon known as flavor innovating. There is a shift from traditional flavors like cheese or caramel to mixed-flavored popcorn. For example, there is a growing movement towards combining caramel and white cheddar.
The flavor innovation growth has spurred an expansion in the ‘ready to eat’ popcorn category. There has been a 32% increase in total U.S. retail popcorn sales in the last five years, achieving an estimated $2.5 billion in 2017.
4. Candy and Popcorn Similarities
Candy and popcorn do have similarities in that:
- Both are affordable. Students can sell to their peers as well as to family and friends.
- Both come in a wide variety of flavors.
Either way, you can’t go wrong if your group needs to raise money fast. Both popcorn and candy are familiar to all and are ‘impulse-buy’ products that most won’t resist when approached. This continues to make them a good choice for school groups.
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Clay Boggess has been designing fundraising programs for schools and various nonprofit organizations throughout the US since 1999. He’s helped administrators, teachers, and outside support entities such as PTAs and PTOs raise millions of dollars. Clay is an owner and partner at Big Fundraising Ideas.