Lockdown proved to be a golden opportunity for the popcorn market

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The novel coronavirus was first found in Wuhan, China. Since then, it has spread across the globe taking the economies of several nations under its scope, globally. The only possible way to tackle the disastrous impacts of the virus caused by COVID-19 disease is to promote social distancing and take appropriate safety measures. A bigger aspect of it is the imposition of the nationwide lockdown in India as well as the other infected countries. But it is not easy as it looks, the imposition of the nationwide lockdown brings humungous problems with it, whether it is in terms of finance, economy, or health. 

Needless to say, all the businesses and industries at the micro as well as macro-level have been affected tremendously. Manufacturing shutdowns, supply chain disruptions, and fiscal issues are some major threats which come under the COVID umbrella.

But here’s the catch! Even though most of the businesses have seen the worst phase of their balance sheet and revenue statement during this time, a few of them have actually made the most out of this situation to reach an all-time high valuation and market position. One of these businesses if that of Popcorn & Company or PnC.

What is it about?

Popcorn is loved by all, which makes it the most consumed snack by people all over the world. Americans consume approximately 17 billion kilos of popcorn every single year. And now the popcorn industry is flourishing in India too, with Indian developing a genuine fanatic taste for the munching snack. Popcorn is the favorite snack for people in movie theatres.

But the coronavirus induced lockdown has forced the movie theatres to shut down their operations. Due to this, a huge drop in the demand for popcorn was expected in the Indian economy. But the reality is far from this. Despite the theatre shut down the youth have started consuming the muncher quite seriously and in huge amounts.

What else do we know about Popcorn & Company?

Popcorn & Company, abbreviated as PnC, has flourished to greater and greater heights with every passing day in the lockdown. PnC was founded by Vikas Suri in 2017. The firm currently has three retail stores in Aizwal (capital of Mizoram) and New Delhi (NCR region).

The accounting books and reports of PnC reveal the ever-growing Indian consumption of popcorn. The company has already recorded sales of as high as 1.6 lakh tins of popcorn during the lockdown itself.

During the first six months of the financial year 2020-21, the company has recorded total sales of nearly Rs. 2.86 crore. The fun fact is that this sale value comes in contrast with the sales value of the previous financial year, which is 2019-20, which totaled to nearly Rs. 2.20 crore.

The company is popular for a variety of handcrafted gourmet popcorn which is offered in more than fifty national and international flavors. The range of their offerings varies between Rs. 175 to Rs. 750, depending upon the flavor ordered as well as the size of the tin.

For example, PnC sells a 50 gram tin of Cheese Popcorn on Amazon for Rs. 175, and a 130 gram tin of whole-grain red velvet popcorn is priced at Rs. 249.

The major competitor of PnC in the ready-to-eat space market is PVR 4700 BC Gourmet Popcorn.

The company also aims at launching a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) popcorn kit pretty soon. It may also head at exploiting franchise sales within and outside India (parts of South East Asia and West Asia). As per the sources, the company is already in talks with other corporates for franchises in Colombo, Turkey, Kathmandu, Johannesburg, and Male.

Why did the demand not drop?

The theatres are shut but binge-watching is at an all-time rise with millions of people remaining glued to their screen for twenty-four hours a day. Youngsters have started consuming massive amounts of popcorn while binge-watching movies, series, documentaries, and TV programs on various video-streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Voot, Hotstar, etc. 

What is the scenario in the popcorn market right now?

The popcorn market in India has seen magnanimous growth in recent times. This comes with the psychological shift from unhealthy and oily snacks towards munching healthier snacks.

Gourmet popcorns have become a specialty and have gained mass support from the Indian market. The concept has attracted millions of youngsters, making the popcorn market gaining robust momentum. The gourmet popcorn market is expected to see a growth of 36 percent in its Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) during the 2016-22 period.

By the end of 2017, the popcorn market in India was valued at Rs. 2,040 crore.

What role has the pandemic played?

The majority of the target consumers of the popcorn market are people of the age group 17 to 34. The coronavirus pandemic has completely altered the normal lifestyle of people all over the world by locking them down in their homes.

Theatres look long lost asset now with the OTT platforms (over-the-top platforms) stepping onto the front seat now. The movie plans are now carried out digitally via screens with the digital content proliferating. Subsequently, the consumption of snacks has surged, in turn, leading to a jump in demand for popcorn.

According to certain researches and reports, Netflix witnessed a 65% rise in its subscriptions while the same for Amazon stands at 67%.

Is there any relation between the sales jump with online services?

Vikas Suri, Founder, Popcorn & Company (PnC), said that PnC recorded most of its sales during the lockdown via online platforms such as Amazon, Swiggy, Zomato, Flipkart, and Paytm. These e-commerce platforms have undoubtedly created an environment of serendipity for the company. 

At a time when the uncertainty over the COVID vaccine is freaking out all the industries and business lines, PnC is expecting a similar growth trend of nearly 30-40 percent during the current financial year. He also expects much of the business to come from e-commerce platforms and online channels. The company is also looking at potentially exploiting its growth capacity by expanding to a larger consumer base. It plans to do this by joining hands with other grocery apps such as Big Basket and Grofers.

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