National Popcorn Day is celebrated annually on 19 January. This is the perfect day to treat yourself to this yummy snack and learn some interesting popcorn facts.
- Each kernel contains a tiny drop of water. Therefore, when heated, the water expands and causes the kernel to explode and flip inside out.
- Global popcorn consumption declined significantly during the 1950s with the invention of the television. As Americans stopped going to the movies, they stopped eating popcorn. That is, until microwave popcorn restored the snack’s popularity.
- The world’s oldest piece of popcorn dates back more than 5 600 years, with archaeologists finding remnants of it from 3 600 BC.
- In South Africa, the popcorn industry started planting the crop in 1966 and it fitted well into the country’s well established maize industry.
- South African popcorn production is estimated at 55 000 metric tons per year.
- Approximately 40% of the total popcorn production is exported to Namibia, Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Egypt and the Ivory Coast.
- In South Africa, popcorn is produced mostly in the Free State and Northern Cape under irrigation.
- All popcorn sold in South Africa has been certified as non-GMO.
- 95% of the popcorn seed planted in South Africa is of US origin. There is only one popcorn seed breeding company in South Africa.
- Producing popcorn is a highly specialised industry that differs from conventional maize production.