New Popcorn First to Use Sun Oil
Friday, January 3, 2003
filed under: Utilization/Trade
ASAP (“A Super Amazing Popcorn”) Microwave Popcorn, launched last August, is unique in two respects: The bags pop up into a variety of shapes and themes, such as baseballs, soccerballs, Halloween pumpkins, Santa Claus, and cartoon characters. Also, ASAP Popcorn is believed to be the first to use sunflower oil.
Company representatives worked closely with National Sunflower Association staff during the product’s development. ASAP strongly promotes the fact that the popcorn is made with sun oil, and details the health benefits of sunflower oil on its web site, www.asappopcorn.com.
“In taste tests, people preferred popcorn with sun oil—it makes a dramatic difference. It really brings out the natural taste of the corn, and it’s the healthiest of all oils you can microwave,” says William Biggar, president of the Ohio-based company.
Biggar, who in his professional career has been involved in marketing many of the country’s best known food brands, including Nestle Toll House, Carnation Milk, and Ortega Mexican Foods, says that unlike canola oil, sun oil will not break down during the microwave process.
Traditionally, partially-hydrogenated soy oil is used to make microwave popcorn. The sunflower oil used to make ASAP Popcorn needs to be partially hydrogenated, because the packaging does not allow for liquid oil. Using sun oil allows ASAP Popcorn to promote the fact that its product contains about half the amount of saturated fat of other microwave popcorn brands, and that sun oil has high amounts of vitamin E, as well as an ample supply of essential fatty acids.
ASAP calls its product “the most significant advancement since microwave popcorn was introduced more than 20 years ago,” and has patented its package shapes and designs. With product promotion and distribution channels still being developed, ASAP Popcorn is now marketed in about 20% of the United States, including Texas, Michigan, Ohio, and the East Coast.—Tracy Sayler