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Popping Through the Ages- The History of Popcorn!

Posted by Allyson Shenkman on Jun 02, 2023

Popping Through the Ages- The History of Popcorn!

From microwaveable paper bags to gourmet chocolate mixes, popcorn comes in all shapes and sizes. Beyond the classic movie theater popcorn, with its irresistible butter and salt combo, or classic caramel and kettle flavors you can always find at your local fair, your favorite corn treat has now become a jack of ALL trades, available in hundreds of different flavors from tropical fruit to cheddar cheese to peanut butter! (And here's a tip...almost all of these are sold at the Bulk Candy Store!) But did you know popcorn stretches back almost 7,000 years?! That's right, your favorite movie night indulgence has a much deeper history than most people realize, and we at Bulk Candy Store are excited to tell you all about it! So grab a bowl of your favorite popcorn, sit back, relax, and enjoy popping through the ages with us!

Ancient History

According to National Geographic, the oldest cultivated corn was found in Mexico, dating to about 9,000 years ago! It would seem that popped corn followed not too long after, with the oldest discovered popped corn cobs appearing in Peru about 6,700 years ago. We also find evidence of the treat being eaten 1,000 years later in New Mexico, according to the USDA.


From accounts of early European explorers, we know popcorn was actually an integral part of many indigenous cultures, including the Aztec in Mexico, Peruvian cultures, and the Iroquois in the Great Lakes (who made a type of popcorn soup!), according to and the USDA. 

Colonial Era

Popcorn for breakfast? You bet! Early colonists in the New World ate the corn treat with sugar and cream in a type of popcorn cereal, according to the USDA, which kind of makes sense if you think about corn puff cereal...

At this point, popcorn was just limited to small family farms and was not very widespread. Womp womp.

19th Century Through the Great Depression

Popcorn popped its way to popularity in the 19th century. There were a bunch of different methods for cooking the treat, including on hot ashes or directly on the fire in wire cages. However, one of the defining popcorn moments of this era was the popcorn ball, according to I mean, hey, a lot of delicious foods are better in ball form! Mac & Cheese balls, anyone?

Anyway, they were often given as gifts and were used as Christmas tree decoration during the holidays, making some delicious ornaments! According to, as popcorn skyrocketed through the century, its popularity culminated in the first ever mobile popcorn machine, created in 1893 by Charles Cretors. Now, Victorians in their fancy dresses and hats could enjoy a light popcorn delight as they walked with their parasols. How fancy!

The mobile popcorn machine ruled the day even through the Great Depression. According to the USDA, a bag of the treat cost only 5 to 10 cents a pop, making it one of the very few delights struggling families could enjoy. In fact, as most other industries crashed and burned, the popcorn industry rose above and actually experienced a big boom during the Great Depression. writes that this is in large part thanks to the novelty of the movie, where patrons were eager to grab a low-cost snack to enjoy during films in theaters. Alas, this is where we can trace our Star Wars popcorn buckets and extra butter drizzle back to!

Modern Times

With the advent of the home television, popcorn sales actually decreased for a spell as people were not coming to theaters and buying the stuff, as the USDA writes. Despite the hard times, popcorn sales shot right back up as at-home popcorn advertisements successfully convinced folks that the treat can be just as delicious in the living room as in the theater. And thank goodness for it, because don't you just love being able to stuff your face during the best scenes of your favorite film at home without being judged? We know we do!

In the early 1980s, America's favorite at-home movie night tradition was invented- microwaveable popcorn was born!!!

*Angel chorus* That's right, now we could make our own popcorn with the push of a button, and the only hard thing about it was trying not to eat it all right away!  

Today, gourmet popcorn is all the rage, and we at Bulk Candy Store are guaranteed to be your one-stop-shop for ALL your gourmet popcorn needs! These fun flavors are awesome gifts for the popcorn lover in your life or are sure to be star at your next event! Cookies & Cream or Cinnamon French Toast for the sweet toothed folks? Got ya. Pink Watermelon or Strawberry for a Baby Shower? Yup! Spicy Nacho or Blazin' Hot Cheetah for the spice fanatics? Absolutely! With over 70 flavors to explore, we know that our artisan popcorn selection is bound to transport you to popcorn heaven. We even have a popcorn of the month club for our extra special popcorn fans!

Well then, we don't know about you, but we're pretty hungry for popcorn now, so we're going to go pour a bowl and turn on our favorite movie! Catch ya later!