Tiny but Mighty Popcorn targets Target, Costco and Publix shelf space with new packaging

By Douglas Yu

- Last updated on GMT

Tiny but Mighty Popcorn showcased its products during the recent Good Food Festival in Chicago.
Tiny but Mighty Popcorn showcased its products during the recent Good Food Festival in Chicago.

Related tags Food Popcorn

Family-owned Tiny but Mighty Popcorn has redesigned the packaging of its entire product line with paintings created by Iowa native artist, Grant Wood. 

Wood, who passed away in 1942, is best known for his work “American Gothic.”​ The owner of Tiny but Mighty, Gene Mealhow, said the new packaging directly indicates the company’s Iowa heritage.

By introducing the new design, Tiny but Mighty hopes to gain more penetration in the domestic market and more stores in 2017.

“We are moving to more conventional channels, like Costco, Target and Publix. A lot of those stores have natural sections as well,”​ Mealhow said. 

Tiny but Mighty Popcorn currently offers three product lines with multiple flavors, including microwavable popcorn, ready-to-eat popcorn and regular kernels.

The latest products include a Southwest spicy flavor and white cheddar flavor microwavable popcorn. They will be available next month at selected Whole Foods stores across the Midwestern region in the US for around $3.29 per bag.

Fully cooked kernels

Mealhow said the reason why the company is named Tiny but Mighty is because their products are made with small kernels.

“Regular corns usually produce 5,000 kernels per pound, and ours are about 10,000 kernels per pound,”​ he explained.

“When our kernels pop, the kernels are cooked to completely get rid of the shells so they don’t get stuck in your teeth. People with digestive issues can also eat this popcorn without it causing problems.”

Heirloom seeds

Tiny but Mighty’s products are made with heirloom seeds on a farm previously owned by the Kelty family for three generations. The Mealhow family purchased the Iowa farm several years back and created the current brand.

Mealhow told BakeryandSnacks the heirloom seeds are usually richer in flavor compared to hybridized ones that are bred for more production.

“Heirloom seeds are at least 50 years old and have not changed in any way over the years. However, some of the qualities found in those heirloom seeds are lost once they are hybridized,”​ he said.

“That’s why [food produced from] local farms are gaining popularity in recent years. Consumers consider locally produced foods higher quality.”

Gaining distribution

Tiny but Mighty Popcorn has experienced 10% to 15% year-over-year growth, the company said. But its share only accounts for less than 2% of the overall US popcorn market.

Latest Euromonitor data showed that some of the top US popcorn brands in terms of market shares are PepsiCo-owned Smartfood, followed by ConAgra’s Orville Redenbacher’s, Amplify Snack Brands’ Skinny Pop, and Snyder’s-Lance’s Pop Secret.

Ready-to-eat popcorn, in particular, has exploded with health-focused brands like Smartfood and Skinny Pop, driving US sales up by 7% in 2016, the market research firm said.

“We’re right in the middle of popcorn price range in the US market,”​ Mealhow said.

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