[ Currently Eating: Cheese and Crackers ]
Trips to Big Lots inevitably end badly for your friendly neighborhood Cheap Eats Editor. I usually tend to come home with tons of tins – little fishies packed in tomato sauce, strangely potted meat and smoked oysters galore. But I also cave in to other snackies that are a little “healthier” like this 4 pack of Pop Weaver Popcorn.
I’d never heard of Pop Weaver Popcorn before, even though according to their website they are “a leading national brand of microwave popcorn in the United States and is distributed to more than 90 countries worldwide.” The box actually says “more people around the world eat more Pop Weaver popcorn than any other kind.”
I guess maybe it’s more popular in other countries than the U.S. Either that, or in the microwave popcorn scheme of things, I’ve been living in a cave in Antarctica for several years. Which also isn’t too far of a stretch.
I got the standard butter version, but they have other “flavors” like Extra Butter, Light Butter, Kettle Corn and Natural. No cheese or caramel flavors. There’s 4 standard size packs in one box, so it comes out to about a quarter each. In general, I like popcorn and think it’s a great snack for Cheap Eaters – but I’m constantly seduced by the flashier and unhealthier Doritos and Cheetos products of the world. So maybe there’s something to it then when Pop Weaver says that the reason their microwave popcorn can be so cheap is that they spend a whole lot less on advertising, packaging and even ink on the bags.
The box looks rather plain – their logo is the smallest thing on the box. The largest thing on it is the words “4 Bags”. A big sticker also proclaims “NO DIACETYL FLAVORINGS” which I suppose is a good thing? I haven’t been keeping up with that stuff, but I’m guessing Diacetyl is something bad. I was wondering if it’s the same concern as with the Teflon in non-stick cookware, or something different.
Incidentally, why is it that every box of microwave popcorn seems to be associated with a friendly old geezer with glasses?
Sure, I know you can buy your own corn kernels and pop them yourself on the stove for cheaper. But I don’t know, I just like popping it in a bag in the microwave once in awhile. My brain cells and neurons, already taxed to their limit by trying to decide whether or not $2 is a good price for Low Salt Spam, are loathe to take on yet more decisions. (She can’t take much more captain!)
As for the popcorn itself, I have to say at a quarter for a bag it’s very good. I followed the directions and went by the PPS metric (number of Pops Per Second) instead of a flat cooking time. I think microwave popcorn must have one of the greatest ranges of cooking times I’ve ever seen for food. It’s 2-5 minutes. That’s a huge difference, so it’s definitely best to listen for popping. My corn timed out at about 3.5 minutes.
The popped kernels weren’t extraordinarily large, but they were about average sized for cheap microwave popcorn. They definitely weren’t the fluffy gourmet kind, or the kettle corn sized kernels. Still, they tasted pretty good. The amount of salt and “butter flavoring” was a little on the light side, which was fine by me. You can always slather on more butter later.
I was surprised that most of the kernels actually popped. There were only about 4-5 unpopped which is something I constantly have problems with in microwave popcorn. (I know some people actually like the unpopped kernels but I have a hard time eating them.) So on that front, Pop Weaver did really well.
Pricewise they were excellent – I’m not complaining at a quarter for one package. Tastewise, they were satisfactory. But chances are if you eat this, you’re probably not going to care as you sit spellbound munching away in front of the TV while watching re-runs of Quantum Leap. Oh, boy!
Price:$1 for 4 Pack Box
Found At:Big Lots
Cheap Eats Score: 7/10