Nightly News   |  March 17, 2013

The gourmet popcorn fad

Forget the butter and salt, connoisseurs are busy reinventing the crunchy kernel with a variety of new flavors, NBC’s Kevin Tibbles reports.

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>>> we all know about cupcakes and their wildly successful revival in recent years. now another american snack favorite is being re-invented -- popping with all kinds of new flavors that have some folks seeing gold. here's nbc's kevin tibbles.

>> hello, i'm orville redenbacher from valparaiso, inpin.

>> reporter: the spectacle and bow-tied orville redenbacher may have introduced us to back in the '70s, but gourmet popcorn is now the next big food fad. the popular all-american stack has officially left butter and salt in the dust. according to food tracking firm sterling rice, exotic gourmet popcorn is one of the top ten dining trends of 2013 .

>> what we like about all of our foods is they have variety. new flavors, new types, new packaging. i'd say the gourmet popcorn market is fitting into that.

>> reporter: connoisseurs are busy re-inventing the crunchy kernel. quick flavors, hall pejalapeno cheddar, white chocolate truffle. on chicago's north side they create new corn conkouxs, including billion dollar popcorn sprinkled with real gold flakes. and business is -- bursting.

>> you can get run of the mill anything anywhere, any time.

>> reporter: the difference -- top of the line natural ingredients and a little bit creativity like pop lance in new york city .

>> it's really like a blank canvas . can you combine so many unique ingredients.

>> these days, the gourmet goodness is popping up everywhere. all this excitement is nothing new to folks at chicago's garret gourmet popcorn, though. they've been in the business since 1949 .

>> as far as you're concerned, it's a fad?

>> it's a fad that's here to stay.

>> it's never going to die out?

>> no.

>> an american staple that's ready to pop till you drop.

>> that's really good. i've never had that.

>> that's nbc nightly news for