Brexit just got serious: The price of popcorn is set to rise


Popcorn lovers may soon be left with a bad taste in their mouths as the effects of Brexit are threatening to push up the price of the popular snack.

The founder of upmarket popcorn brand Joe & Seph's told the Press Association that a weaker pound has driven up the price of imported goods like sugar, chocolate and corn, while compounding climbing dairy costs - in short everything that goes into making popcorn delicious is getting more expensive.

"We are now looking at how much of these increases we can absorb and how much will need to be passed on to customers in the form of higher prices," Adam Sopher said.

Sopher, who started Joe & Seph's with his dad in 2010, explained that the London-based company was already feeling a squeeze from the rising cost of butter, amid a European fat shortage and a 5% drop in UK milk production versus 2015.

The popcorn company is stuck importing foods like chocolate and corn, which tend to grow in hotter climates.

"Where we unfortunately cannot source raw materials in the UK... our costs have increased and look like continuing to increase, but in the near term we are hoping for increased sales from reduced value of (the) pound."

The pound has dropped by around 18% against the US dollar since the referendum, and fallen about 15% against the euro over the same period.

Other industry players and high street favourites like PopChips are also keeping an eye on rising import prices.

PopChips' general manager for the UK and Europe Will Bowler agreed that there has been an immediate jump in costs following the post-Brexit vote slump in sterling, particularly in raw materials and fuel.

However, not all hope is lost (yet) as both Bowler and Sopher are optimistic that the drop in sterling will present more export opportunities, as their respective popcorn-based snacks become cheaper for overseas customers.

"The collapse of the pound has meant that our products are now 15% cheaper for Europeans to buy, 15% for the Middle East and 35% for the Japanese," Sopher said.

"We are now looking to invest a lot more in exporting our gourmet popcorn as a result to take advantage of the opportunities for increased sales."

(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)
(Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Joe & Seph's currently expects revenue to rise from £3.5 million to £5.5 million over the next 12 months.

If this happens the price of our much loved treats could still stay the same - fingers crossed.

The company currently holds roughly 5.8% of the £120 million UK popcorn market and Sopher is optimistic that market share will continue to grow, despite the challenges posed by Brexit.