May 20, 2023

4 Marketing Tactics: What You Can Learn from Gourmet Popcorn in Japan

The gourmet popcorn trend gained momentum in Japan a few years ago, when...

The Rise of Gourmet Popcorn in Japan

The gourmet popcorn trend gained momentum in Japan a few years ago, when popcorn specialty shops began popping up in Omotesando, an area renowned for its fashion-forward atmosphere. Brands like Garrett Popcorn Shops, Doc Popcorn, and KuKuRuZa Gourmet Popcorn set the trend. They sparked a fascination and desire among Japanese consumers for more diverse and indulgent popcorn options. Even Seven-Eleven Japan jumped on the bandwagon by collaborating with Garrett Popcorn Shops for cobranded popcorn offerings.

Expansion into Supermarkets

What started as a trend in dedicated popcorn shops soon found its way into mainstream supermarkets. Today, popcorn enthusiasts can find craft and gourmet popcorn brands on their regular grocery shelves. This integration of gourmet popcorn into everyday retail spaces has further fueled its popularity and accessibility throughout Japan.

Japanese Marketing Tactics

Recently, many Japanese gourmet popcorn products have appeared. The one in the picture is a local brand from a Bio c’ Bon store in Tokyo, which applies typical Japanese branding and packaging standards to its prepackaged product.

  1. Airtight plastic lid: The airtight plastic lid preserves the popcorn’s freshness by protecting it from oxidization and moisture, ensuring that customers enjoy a crunchy and flavorful snack every time. Packaging is considered part of the product in Japan—freshness is a critical factor when it comes to food products, and Japanese summers are hot and humid. Temperature changes can easily deteriorate the quality of food items that do not have a long shelf life, so preventing oxidization and moisture is a strong selling point.
  2. Transparent container: A transparent container allows consumers to see the actual content, adding visual appeal and suggesting the quality of the product. Showing the actual content is essential in Japan, especially if you have a new product type or an exclusive offering.
  3. “Mini-booklet”: In addition to the QR code that provides access to the brand’s webpage, the “mini-booklet” includes detailed information about the brand’s emphasis on high-quality ingredients, thus building trust in the quality and differentiating the product and the brand from competitors.
  4. Flavor: The product in the picture is cappuccino-flavored, but as another example of the wide range of varieties, you can also find the recently trending truffle flavor in many brands’ lineups. If you follow food trends in Japan, you can easily recognize trending food items and flavors each year. Working with these trends can generate more business for your brand.


From its initial emergence in specialty shops to its expansion into supermarkets, gourmet popcorn has captured the hearts and taste buds of Japanese consumers. If you sell branded food or beverage products in Japan, the development of gourmet popcorn demonstrates an excellent example of how to improve your local marketing by providing ideas and solutions for this developed and unique market.

Learn more about Japan’s recent truffle boom in our earlier article:

Japan’s Truffle Boom Has Reached a New Level

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