Shopping for the ideal popcorn machines is not easy for many people because they come in different types and sizes, and their capabilities are not the same. Before you decide to invest in any popcorn machine, it is important to consider a few factors, including the capacity of the machine, the price, and the ease of usage.
This article will discuss how to select the right popcorn-making machines and the different types of popcorn-making machines available. Additionally, it will discuss how popcorn-making machines work and the market share and size.
Overview of the popcorn machine market
The extensive global consumption of the delicious snack, popcorn, is the key driver of the popcorn maker market. This market has been segmented based on type, distribution channel, end-use, and region. Based on type, the popcorn maker can be categorized into the microwave, hot air poppers, stovetop, and professional popcorn machines. The end-user segment comprises commercial and household, while the distribution channels include direct and indirect.
According to Industry Research, the global popcorn machine market was valued at USD 283.6 million in 2020. While growing at a compound annual growth rate of about 3.2%, it is expected to reach USD 353.6 million by 2027. The growth is due to key end-users’ preferences for modern and cost-effective popcorn machines with a digital temperature controller feature.
The major players in the popcorn makers industry include Cretors, Nostalgia Electrics, Gold Medal Products, Great Nothern Popcorn, and Presto. These manufacturers account for about 30% of the market share. Regionally, the U.S. holds the market’s leading share with approximately 40%.
How the popcorn machine works
The popcorn machine functions by heating oil while popping oil kernels. These kernels are placed in the heating chamber and heated rapidly to about 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The moisture in the kernels expands to create steam that builds up the pressure in the kernels.
At some point, the pressure becomes too great, which makes the kernels explode, and the puffed corn exits the heating chamber. The oil heat continues to cook the now-puffed corn, making it dry and crisp. This finished popcorn is afterward collected in a serving bin or tray. They are ready to be seasoned and consumed.
Types of popcorn machines
1. Electric popcorn machines
Electric popcorn machines are devices designed to make popcorn using electricity as the heat source. The major components are the electric heating element, a popping chamber, and a lid with a butter dispenser and warmer. Kernels are added into the popping chamber, and the lid is closed. The machine is turned on to heat the oil in the chamber to attain the temperature required for popping. Some models have a built-in butter warmer and dispenser to melt and dispense butter onto the popcorn.
2. Stovetop popcorn machines
Stovetop popcorn machines are kitchen appliances that make popcorn on the stove. They have metal pots with lids, handles, and a stirring mechanism that prevents kernels from burning. The pot is placed on the stove and heated to pop the kernels. As the popping slows down, the pot is removed from the heat, and popcorn is served in a bowl. These popcorn machines are made from various materials, including stainless steel, aluminum, and cast iron. Some models have a non-stick coating which makes cleaning easier.
3. Microwave popcorn machines
Microwave popcorn machines are appliances used to make popcorn in a microwave oven. They have a container with a lid in the microwave. This container is filled with popcorn kernels and a desired amount of oil, which is then covered and microwaved to pop the kernels. These machines are designed to quickly make popcorn in the microwave, mess-free and conveniently. Some materials used to make microwave popcorn makers are plastic and silicone.
4. Hot air popcorn machines
Hot air popcorn machines are used to make popcorn at home and for commercial purposes. The machines work by heating the air inside the device. The heated air circulates around the kernels to pop them. When the kernels attain a high temperature, the moisture inside converts to steam, which causes them to expand and eventually pop. These machines do not require oil to make popcorn; thus, they are a healthier option than traditional popcorn makers.
How to select the right popcorn machine
Cost is among the main factors that buyers should consider when acquiring popcorn machines. Buyers with a limited budget will opt for basic popcorn makers that are simple in design but can still get the task done. Those with a little more to spend can purchase mid-range options with additional features such as adjustable temperature settings and larger capacities. The high-end models cost more due to premium features like digital displays and programmable settings. Generally, popcorn makers’ costs vary based on the type, features, and brand. On average, the cost starts at around USD 20 and goes up to USD 200.
Capacity is crucial when selecting popcorn makers. It directly affects how much popcorn can be produced at once and the number of servings made. If buyers intend to use the machine at home, they will opt for a household size depending on the family size. The counter or storage space determines whether to go for a smaller or larger capacity. Also, the portability feature affects the capacity, as smaller machines are easier to transport but less productive. Averagely, popcorn makers have a capacity ranging from 3 cups to 12 cups.
Buyers should consider the durability of popcorn makers as they determine their longevity and ability to withstand continuous use. Durability depends on material quality, where high-quality machines are made of aluminum and stainless steel, which can resist wear and tear. Sometimes, brand reputation and maintenance determine how durable and long-lasting the products are. Also, buyers should consider the frequency of use to acquire the appropriate, more durable machines. Proper handling and using popcorn makers without overloading them will help extend their service life.
The material used in the production of popcorn makers impacts their durability, ease of use, and overall performance. Stainless steel is commonly used because it is durable, easy to clean, and rust-resistant. It is a good conductor of heat, which ensures evenly-cooked popcorn. Aluminum is rather lightweight, a good conductor of heat, and durable. Additionally, cast iron could be used for its durability and heat retention. However, it can be difficult to clean and maintain because of its porous surface and heavy weight. Plastic is affordable and lightweight but less durable and prone to melting if exposed to extreme heat conditions.
Usability determines how easily and efficiently buyers can use popcorn machines. Ease of use means popcorn makers have straightforward controls and clear instructions. Portability ensures using popcorn makers on the go and at various locations; thus, they should be lightweight, compact, and with handles for easy carrying. Safety features are a priority, for instance, automatic shut-off, non-slip base, and cool-touch handles. In addition, buyers should get machines that are easy to clean with easily removable parts.
Productivity is a vital consideration in popcorn makers’ choices as it determines the amount of popcorn produced. Capacity shows the size of the machine’s cooking pot and the amount of popcorn produced in one cycle. Larger machines produce more popcorn even though they are bulkier and less portable. Also, the speed of the heating element can determine the time it takes to make a batch of popcorn. Some machines have a preheat component that speeds up the process. Averagely, most popcorn machines produce a batch of popcorn within 2-5 minutes. Moreover, fuel efficiency has some machines using less energy to produce more.
Arriving at the right popcorn machine requires careful consideration of the abovementioned factors. Following this guide, buyers will find the machines that fit their specific needs and preferences. Additionally, it is important to read reviews and compare various machines before making the final investment. To acquire high-quality popcorn machines, visit Alibaba.com.