Growing up I always loved going to the movie theatre and getting the biggest tub of popcorn I could. Smothered in butter, the bag would be half way gone by the time the previews started. As time went on, I learned that you can still eat an insane amount of popcorn (or close to it) without compromising your health and losing that delicious flavor. Butter on popcorn is so 2005 when you now can smother your popcorn in healthy fats such as coconut or olive oil. These days there are so many ways to flavor your popcorn and within the past few years, numerous brands have been introduced to supermarkets that feature less ingredients, no butter and simple sea salt flavorings. It’s safe to say I’ve tried an array of these, including black pepper and sea salt flavors. To me, it never was about the “37 calories per cup” plastered on the fronts of these bags but rather, what am I eating? What is in my popcorn? Can I distinguish and read these ingredients and are they good for my body?
The best thing about the popular market brands is that you can still eat between 3 and 4 cups, which is a TON of popcorn. However, many have cheese flavorings with whey, nonfat milk and dried cane sugar. Not really feeling those ingredients so much. Therefore, my search for the perfect popcorn began. Through continuous glances at the snack aisle and reading the labels of different popcorn to see how they differed from one another, my eyes locked onto Quinn Popcorn.
I had seen the boxes of microwaveable popcorn in a few Whole Foods locations (in Chicago and Cleveland) but could never get ahold of the kale and sea salt flavor. One of my fellow social media followers put a photo of it up on Instagram and I knew I had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. Kale is slowly but surely taking over the world. I should have known sooner or later someone would decide to throw it into popcorn… of all things. But I’m not mad about it one bit!
Luckily, Quinn Popcorn sent me a phenomenal package of samples including the farm-to-bag kale and sea salt and the microwave variety in two flavors: olive oil & herbs and vermont maple & sea salt. All samples given were dairy-free as well. Quite the bonus since you never can be sure where your dairy is coming from. Quinn Popcorn offers five different flavor varieties of their microwave popcorn including the ones I received as well as real butter & sea salt, parmesan & rosemary, hickory smoked cheddar and just sea salt.
What is unique to Quinn is that they use REAL butter, cheddar cheese that is RBGH free (no hormones and whole milk used) and maple sugar from Vermont. Uh yum? (even if I’m not a dairy loving girl… those of you who are, you’re in luck). I can’t forget to mention that their popcorn is made with non-GMO corn. Oh the joy! Corn is one of the top genetically modified organisms and is hard to digest because of this. Therefore, we should be snacking more on organic and all natural corn products.
As Quinn Popcorn is using wholesome ingredients, a brand such as Pop Secret, one that tons of Americans have been consuming for years because it is “convenient” has an ingredient list reading: partially hydrogenated soybean oil, natural and artificial flavor, and freshness preserved by propyl gallate. I don’t know about you but I’d rather not be eating artificial flavors. By consuming hydrogenated oils, you’re really just taking in another form of trans fats. Lastly, what the heck is propyl gallate? If you can’t pronounce an ingredient or understand it, it certainly should NOT be in your food or going into your body for that matter. When I looked it up, I learned not only is it banned in other countries but it has been linked to cause cancer in lab-tested animals and is an “artificial food additive”. Yuck.
The good news is the kale popcorn I consumed had a short list of ingredients that were all easy to read, beginning with non-GMO popcorn and ending with dried organic kale and dried organic carrot. Mmm sneaking in those veggies, just what I love. It had a slightly salty taste but with an added flavor of onion and garlic. Completely savory and delectable. For 4 cups in a serving, I felt like I was actually eating a whole bag of popcorn… and kale. Quinn Popcorn likes to inform their customers of where each ingredient is coming from, giving every single bag a “batch number” to learn about the suppliers the company works with. By typing in your number on their site, you can find out where your food is from.
After I tried the farm-to-bag popcorn, I tried out the vermont maple & sea salt. To sum up how good it was, there are 6 servings in one bag (two bags in a box) and I ate one whole bag in the span of 10 minutes. Yep, it was THAT good. Unlike other microwave popcorn, Quinn uses compostable paper bags with chemical-free liners meaning no plastic or metals are seeping into your precious kernels. First, you put your bag in the microwave for 1-3 minutes and wait until you hear pops slowing down to 1 to 2 second intervals. Once it is done popping, you pour on a packet of sunflower oil and shake it around, followed by a packet of maple sugar. If you don’t like your popcorn too oily or too sweet, you can put as little or as much oil and sugar as you like. This flavor is very reminiscent of kettle corn due to the maple sugar yet it had the simple taste of popcorn.
The last flavor I sampled was the olive oil & herbs. This flavor uses extra virgin olive oil rather than high oleic sunflower oil which I was more familiar with. It is accented with basil, oregano, garlic and tarragon – ingredients I have never before seen on a popcorn’s packaging. To jazz up the spices, nutritional yeast flakes are added to give it a cheesy flavor but the herbs overpowered the yeast (for those of you unfamiliar with the taste of nutritional yeast, don’t worry because it is hardly noticeable). This bag had a lighter flavor and the olive oil helped the seasoning stick well to the fluffy bits of corn.
Out of the three, my favorite was the olive oil & herbs due to the combination of simple seasonings and addition of olive oil. I’ve been a huge fan of olive oil popcorn from Trader Joe’s so trying this really exceeded my expectations.
Unlike other companies, Quinn Popcorn admits that they aren’t perfect which is something you usually don’t see companies saying. They admit that although their products are certified non-GMO and they use organically sourced products, they are still in the process of using all organic dairy along with bringing their prices down when they can. They state their ingredients are top notch so like I tell most people, you get what you pay for and Quinn Popcorn is what you want to put your money towards. 100%.
I highly recommend this company to those of you who LOVE to snack, especially on this movie theatre classic.
I recently tried their farm-to-bag popped with coconut oil and it is currently my #1 favorite flavor from the company. The coconut oil gives such a light flavoring to the popcorn but gives the same texture to the kernels that butter would. It is extremely decadent in the simplest way.
Quinn Popcorn sells their microwave popcorn for $4.99 a box (this includes 2 bags) and farm-to-bag popcorn for $7.99 for 2 bags via their website. You can buy their products here!
Thank you to Quinn Popcorn for accommodating me with this wonderful package of free samples. All opinions are my own.