Food Science Universe (FSU)

Popcorn Production Process

Everyone wants to eat quality products. That’s why the best variety of popcorn is grown in farms. Farms even breed popcorn plant to enhance traits like colour, taste and popability. By farm, the crop is ready to harvest. Peeling back the husks reveals kernels that are smaller and harder than the other corns. At harvesting, popcorn has a moisture content of 16-20%. That’s a bit too high. So to bring it down to 14% they condition the crop in the giant bins pumping more air up through it. Popcorn that’s too dry may not pop and if too wet it could spoil when stored.

Popcorn Production Process Flow Chart

WordPress Table

Popcorn Production Video

Processing in Factory

In the factory as soon as the evacuating screen sieve chunks of carts and broken kernels, vacuum pipe pull the fine impurities. Impurities go into the dust collector and set the larger impurities into the sheath. They end up in a waste and are discarded or used in the animal feed. Moreover, at the junction, the system funnels the filtered popcorn in one direction and the impurities in another. It is the perfect opportunity to see the difference between the two streams. The purification process continued at the gravity table. It’s the vibrating action along with a powerful fan that causes the popcorn to rise and float in the air. In the process kernels that are so heavy or too light gravitate away from the center and are shifted aside. The grain in the middle of the mess are of the optimal size but leaving nothing to chance they go through one more screening. The kernels now head into a different kind of sorter. Inside, the kernel fly by the electronic eye, it detects remaining degree and defects. The machine sense blast of air to get rid of them.

Test The Sample

Now, it is time to test sample of a production run. Tester flours in 250 grams of kernels along with some oil. As the pop reacts 230 degrees, the water in the kernel starts to steam. Further, the pressure builds those kernel explode and turned inside out. This reveals the starchy part of a kernel and creates a white fluffy puff. To pass this test the popcorn has to expand 44 in the half times the original volume. As you can see a bit of popcorn can really go a long way from a pea sized kernel to a puffy white treat in a matter of minutes. Although popcorn kernels come in a range of colours (white, yellow, red, and blue kernels), that starchy puffy part is always white.


The tester loads the pop puffs into the tubes with the measurement on it and this batch of popcorn is right on the top for packaging. Correct moisture content in each kernel is critical. Considering all the factors kernels get sealed in bags to keep them from drying on the store shelf. Furthermore, movie theatres prefer a paper bag packaging which includes a vapour barrier to control moisture loss.

Within a period of 6 months, popcorn lands from farm to shelves. Delighting us, it will all be worth it at the snack time when these grains explode into a mountain of munchies.



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