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How to start Popcorn Business As Retailer/Wholesaler

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Eno Johnson
Eno Johnson is my name, I am an entrepreneur in the making. This blog was birthed because I needed a platform to pen my experience down in Agriculture and business.

Popcorn business is one of those businesses that are yet to be tapped. This business is self-sustaining. It has the capacity to make someone wealthy overtime when there is consistency. Popcorn is a snack gotten from the popping of corn from a heated surface.

Corn can be gotten anywhere in Nigeria but it is predominant in the North. The business is not stressful, it does not consume much time, you can start with small amount of money grow and manage it alone at the comfort of your home.

Another way is to pop and sell at a wholesale price to retailers who will package them as the like. Is not everybody that have the time pop corn for sale even though they are interested in selling it. In a Akwa Ibom State one man is into pop corn business as a wholesaler. He sales in bags; #1,000 for a bag and retailers goes there to buy for repackaging


  • Why you should start pop corn business
  • The type of corn that pops
  • Why pop corn gets burnt and remedy
  • Popcorn recipe
  • Marketing
  • Amount needed for popcorn business
  • Popcorn packaging
  • Procedure
  • Challenges


This is a very lucrative business to venture into. Good planning and proper management can grow the business to international level a point where you start exporting.

Many people like munching popcorn for a number of reasons; because of its crunchy nature, others  nutritional value, some people take it as an alternative to food, others for relaxation check event centres, amusement parks, programmes(church, sport etc) popcorn is the order of the day. Consumers are ready to buy any time production is made, making it a secured business.


The amount of money you have determines the strength of the popcorn business. The business can be started with as low as #10,000 excluding fixed capital. For large scale production you need up to #150,000 and above. If you have good money buy items in bulk it is more economical.


Foreign corn is very good for popping, however, the rise in dollar also affects the price. Go for the local corn that pops like the foreign, it is sold at a lesser price. We have this type of corn in Nigeria, in Jos, Plateau State. Note, it is not corn that pops so be cautious when buying.

Read Also: How To Start Groundnut Business In Nigeria (Peanut)


  1. Corn: this is the major raw material needed for a popcorn business.There has to be certain amount of moisture inside the corn such that when heat is applied, it makes a popping sound, from inside out. When corn does not pop what comes out is a dude corn very hard to chew. Look for sweet corn with good moisture content. I will recommend Karason Gold, is a very good specie to use.
  2. Sugar: popcorn requires plenty of sugar
  3. Salt: a little is enough
  4. Vegetable oil: very little to make the popcorn attractive.
  5. Butter: a little of it makes the popcorn taste better, use Topper butter.
  6. Flavour: this brings out the popcorn aroma very well, adding it attracts plenty customers as the environment is covered by it. Making the popcorn irresistible to many people. Put just 1 cap bottle of flavour in one popcorn pot. There are different types of flavour, the liquid type is preferred as the solid ones can contribute in making the corn to burn.
  7. Powdered milk: this is optional but adds fine taste to popcorn. Don’t add milk if you cannot exhaust them the same day. That is for those using show glass. But for those sealing in packs don’t let it get to a month.


  • A big bowl: this is where you turn the popcorn into before packaging and sealing them.
  • Showcase: this should be for those that are using the locally fabricated machines that doesn’t have show glass. The foreign popcorn machines are already manufactured with a show glass; this is one advantage it has over the local ones.
  • Nylon: this should be branded in other to distinguish your product from others. If your branding is unique it will compete with others in the market. Put your phone number and address on the branded nylon in case any retailer is interested the person can easily contact you.
  • Popcorn machine: locally made machines is preferable to the foreign ones. It is cheaper. Go for the big size if you are starting in a large-scale. You can make it two or more depending on the number of hands you are employing. Employ additional hands if you are starting big for effective production and distribution. Buy the type of machines that accepts both salt and sugar.

Read Also: How To Start Bread Production Business In Nigeria


1. Sealing machine:

Seal your nylon very well to prevent air from entering. This will make the crispy nature to remain until consumption. The number of sealing machines you need depends on the size of your popcorn business, the number of hands working for you and the production level.

One sealing machine is good for small-scale production. Seal the popcorn immediately they finish popping, to prevent air from entering.

2. Gas cylinder or electric:

if you are using the locally manufactured machine, it is advisable to use the one with gas cylinder and not the kerosene stove as the slightest mistake can cause you a lot of harm. Gas cylinder will help to solve the problem of light shortages.


  • Measure 50 to 100mm oil to the popping pot
  • Add a tablespoon butter to it
  • Put 1 and half cup of corn
  • Add 2 tablespoon of sugar


  • Shake the pot to mix well, place it in your popcorn machine after 2 minutes it begins to pop.
  • Add flavour if you desire, let it continue popping until you cannot hear the sound anymore, bring it down and turn into a bowl,
  • Pour powder milk (optional) shake the bowl thoroughly until the milk is well mixed.
  • Package for sale or showcase it in your show glass. This procedure is for the locally made machines.

For the foreign machine,

  • Turn on the popping machine, heat it for 2 minutes, pour a little oil into it, add butter, sugar, salt, measure a cup of corn into it. This depends on the size of the machine you are using and the spinner.
  • Add flavour (optional) allow it to pop after a few minutes the popcorn will start coming out on its own into the showcase. At this point off the heater so that the remaining corn can pop without getting burnt.

Always monitor the amount of heat you are using and reduce it immediately it starts popping.


You can use containers, nylon or paper. Nylon is what those supplying uses. Package #50 what of popcorn and arrange 30 in a big nylon and supply at the rate of #1,100. Or 10 packs in a nylon for #350. Put it in the nylon and use sealing machine to seal it in such a way that air cannot enter.


There are two outstanding things that will make popcorn to burn.

  1. The Type of Machine Used

The first machine I used was the electric type. It came to a point the machine became too hot even when I reduced to the last button. What I did was to abandon it for the local machine. But you can take yours to technicians to set up the regulator because that’s where the problem was.

  1. Sugar or liquid application

When I started using the local machine,  the popcorn was always burning. In a bid to find out the problem I stopped putting sugar from the start. Instead, I applied it the same time  I am applying flavour close to when the popcorn will start popping out. That way the case was settled.

Read Also: How To Start Profitable Meat Pie Business In Nigeria


Target supermarkets, schools, canteen, hotels that are not producing, stores, eateries, markets etc. Employ people to sell for you at traffic, motor parks etc. Locate the street hawkers; they sell faster in large quantities.

Position your popcorn machine on a busy road, market, high commercial area, busy road and pop for sale.


Get a good location because the secrets of making #100,000 and above in popcorn business lies mainly on the location. Find a good place where the population is high. Put milk in your popcorn and watch sales increase.

Do not add colour when using milk it is not advisable. There are some coloured nylons you can use which will make the popcorn to appear coloured. You can customise your nylon with different colours.


  1. Location is usually the number one challenge if you can get a good location then you are sure to succeed in this business.
  2. Consistency is another challenge. If you are producing for instance 300 packs daily be sure to continue with it as a drop in production can affect the business.
  3. Dedication, you have to be committed to the business very seriously because it is a sure way to succeed.
  4. Planning, you have to plan well for the business to grow and succeed. A good planning will keep the business running.
  5. Good Management: A good management guarantees a secured profit; although every business has a risk percentage how you manage your own will help you avoid losses.
  6. Ideal Marketing Strategy: this will help in the growth of your business depending on the kind of strategy you are using. A good one will increase the number of buyers meaning more profits.

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Pop corn machine
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    • I am using a local machine and its good for me. I bought mine #25,000 in Akwa Ibom State so it depends on your location. Ask any body producing pop corn around you where to purchase the machine.

  1. Hi Eno, good to know that there are still selfless people out there! Thanks for sharing this business idea with us, Plz is popcorn business really lucrative? I have 50k that I have been looking for how to invest in a business and be able to foot my Bills as a single Mom…. What kind of corn should I use? Someone was recommending Alicampo foreign corn 9k per 25kg, plz help me with the info

    • Thanks@Cleo. Yes popcorn business can make you financially free. You can try it although I have not used that one before it might be good. I used Agrofin, since it is foreign I will advice you go for it.

      • Oh thanks Eno, how much is the agrofin? I can’t wait to get started, I really need to be financially stable, cuz to fend for Two kids in secondary school is driving me crazy. God bless your kind heart……

        • @Cleo, I will really want you to start as soon as possible. I understand what it means having to cater for that number. I bought it #9100 in Aba for 25kg. Please try and start if encounter any challenge you let me know. Cheers

          • Thanks very much dear, I will go to onitsha to buy the popcorn machine this weekend, will keep you posted. Can I have your number? For easy communication..,… What flavor do you use?

  2. Thanks for this wonderful write up ma pls Whatare the kind of liquid flavour do we have and which one has the best aroma and I also want to know if milk essense is one of the liquid flavor. Is it also good to add honey to it? I really want mine to taste great and with good aroma.

    • Hmmm..
      Are they saying people are not eating or buying it again? Do you think so too? It is still lucrative even more lucrative than before because of the style brought into it

  3. You have changed my mind towards popcorn today I will give it a trybut do you have an idea of how much is sealii machine ma

      • Thanks a lot for this beautiful information. Please i want to know if selling popcorn for #100 would be too high, considering the packaging(sealed nylon and name), not just tying it inside nylon.

        • NO@Amarachi Im sure you know your target market- supermarket and such. You can also package for those average persons

          • Hi…..pls can I see the sample of the show glass for the pop corn?
            And which designed nylon can I use to sales? I would love to start in a small way.
            Lastly, that local pop corn machine, is it connected to the a cylinder automatically when brought?

    • Hi Eno! thanks so much for this write up. Please when using the local machine is it safer to use high or low heat? Secondly if I want to use the local popcorn is there any special treatment I need to apply to the corn to make it pop better?

  4. Thank you a lot for the write up. Please what kind of liquid flavour is the best that your can recommend to be used.

  5. Very interesting I have just started with local maize and d out come is yet that is d colour look brownish I don’t no if is d corn

  6. Thank u for this write up ma. Pls ma which liquid flavor can I use to make the best aroma. I used milkzest but it’s doesn’t saint very well. Thank u ma

    • It used to scent well before, I still prefer the milk, however you can find out from the sellers the one mostly patronized because it will be a pointer to being the best

  7. Thank you for the write up ma. Pls I use flavoured milk powder for my pop corn and now I am thinking of using the regular milk instead of the flavoured milk so I want to know how many days the pop corn can stay if I used the normal milk.

  8. Hello Eno am amazed for your write up but am having challenges in putting sugar.

    My question is will sprinkling melted sugar after poping the corn affect the shelve life of popcorn

    It easily get burnt if I add suger on the fire

  9. Hello Eno you are doing a great job here. Thanks . But my challenge is the sugar it get burnt easily while popping the corns.

    I want to ask if sprinkling a melted sugar last well when packaged


  10. Thank you for the write up. Am planning to start the popcorn business next week, have gotten the popcorn machine.
    I really need your help on the kind of flavor I can use. Please can you list the names of flavor that can be used. Thank you. God bless you.

  11. Happy new year to you Aunty Eno. I pray this year brings you joy and gladness. Please I would like to know what brand of powdered milk would be best to use to spice up my popcorn. I would also like to know if agrofin is still a good brand of kernel. Thank you ma

  12. Thanks for this wonderful opportunity ma. I’ve been brainstorming on how to start up something during this COVID-19 period b4 I stumbled into this blog. This breakdown is helpful, I appreciate 🙏 🙏
    God bless you more.

  13. Thank you Eno for this blog. You have inspired many of us without you knowing it. I have gotten my local machine with 5kg gas (40k), a spot in Ozuoba PH and my ingredients are ready. All I need now is to start on Monday February 1, 2021. Thank you once again and remain blessed.

  14. Hello MA… God bless ur hand work… Am about starting popcorn business.. My question is can I add d butter ND sugar,salt at d end wen d corn stop poping

  15. Thanks for the info! But please I want to sell in the hostel and gas is not allowed, can I use stove?, I already have the popcorn pot

  16. Thanks so much for this wonderful information, I am interested in the popcorn business, can I draft your number and call you for guild?

  17. Please ma
    Can popcorn business be sold in front of my house…like outside the compound
    Like I mean can I sell it faster
    Pls give me an idea

    • Yes if people staying around there or passing are many. i have seen people doing it in front of their house/shop and are selling

  18. Thank you so much for this insightful teaching, I learnt so much. God bless you.
    I am also thinking of going into popcorn making very soon, can I please have your WhatsApp number to be mentored. I will really appreciate that.
    Thank you


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