Saturday, April 18, 2009

Orville Redenbacher's Popcorn Partner

From its launch in 1970 at Chicago's Marshall Field's, Orville Redenbacher's Gourmet Popping Corn went on to capture a third of the market for unpopped popcorn. Messrs. Bowman and Redenbacher sold the brand in 1976 to Hunt-Wesson Foods Inc., with Mr. Redenbacher tagging along as the reality-based spokesman.

It is today owned by ConAgra Foods Inc., and is still the nation's top seller, according to the Snack Food Association. Americans now consume about one billion pounds of popcorn annually, says the Popcorn Institute, up from one-third that much in 1970.

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