Popping the Popcorn Propaganda

Cindy Zimmerman

The The Iowa Corn Promotion Board (ICPB) and the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) today held a joint press conference and photo-op to dispel claims that ethanol and higher field corn prices result in higher popcorn prices for moviegoers. The “Popping the Popcorn Propaganda” event dramatically illustrated this point by displaying what $5 will buy you at a movie theater versus $5 from a farmer.

“The ‘blame ethanol’ game has gotten completely out of control,” stated IRFA Executive Director Monte Shaw. “From a consumer standpoint, for $5 you can buy 1 tub of popcorn at a movie theater or 38.5 pounds of popcorn from a farmer, which, when popped fills nearly a dozen 33-gallon trash bags.

IA Popcorn“From a farm standpoint, in 2006 the farmer received about 1.4 cents for the corn in that $5 tub at the movie theater. In 2007, that same farmer will receive about 2 cents to fill that tub. How can an increase of 0.6 cents to the farmer justify a price hike to movie goers or crazy headlines in the news media?”

To illustrate the point, IRFA intern Paul Brees spent 6 hours popping 38.5 pounds of popcorn – the amount you could buy from a farmer for $5. During the press conference, the 12 bags of popcorn stood in stark contrast to the one small bag of popcorn from the movie theater.

“We had a very visual example today of what actually goes to the farmer. You can use this same example when you talk about other products made with corn. For example, a six-pack of soda includes just 6 cents of corn sweetener, or only 1 penny per can. If your soda at the store is going up more than 1 cent per can, then you have to wonder where the rest of that increase is going,” said Craig Floss, CEO for Iowa Corn. “We know that it is not making it to our corn growers, so to blame them for the increase in prices at the grocery story is simply not right.”

Ethanol, News