Which U.S. State Produces The Most Popcorn

Over 232 million Americans snacked on popcorn in 2020, according to Statista. We don't know what the per capita percentages are relative to each state, but a good guess is that Indiana ranks at or near the top of the list. The Hoosier state is crazy about popcorn, as evidenced by how celebrated the treat is in regional culture. Not only is it a staple at the state's beloved basketball games, but the oldest of its many yearly popcorn fêtes — the Valparaiso Popcorn Festival — attracts crowds that would be the envy of many pro sports teams: about 60,000 popcorn lovers on average, per The Indianapolis Star.

But Hoosiers don't just eat a lot of popcorn. They also sell a lot of it. Some of the top popcorn purveyors are based in Indiana, including Orville Redenbacher and Weaver Popcorn ("the largest bulk popcorn producer in the world," according to its website). They grow a lot of it, too. And no, popcorn isn't the same as the corn that graces dinner tables and backyard barbecues. That's sweet corn. Popcorn (zea mays everta), by contrast, is a variant of flint corn distinguished by the hard nonporous shell to its kernels which makes it possible for them to be popped. (via Picture The Recipe)

Indiana has passed Nebraska in popcorn acreage planted

2021 was a banner year for Indiana's popcorn growers. According to AgriNews, the state outplanted Nebraska — traditionally the top popcorn producing state — devoting more acreage to popcorn plantings than any other state in the U.S. last year. Over 97,000 acres were planted, per Morning AgClips, a new record for the popcorn mad state. That was 3,000 more acres than were planted in 2020, leading to an 8% increase in total production over the previous year.

An even larger leap in production occurred in 2019, when Indiana added 19,000 new acres of popcorn land, confirms Inside Indiana Business. Is it any wonder popcorn was named the official state snack in 2021, or that one of the state's highest ranking politicians is now working to create a new popcorn trail to promote tourism? Not to Indiana residents. Celebrating popcorn is just what they do — when they're not growing it, selling it, or eating it, that is.