Top of the pop
With three outlets across the city, Grab Popcorn is serving gourmet popcorn in incredible flavours that you can munch anytime, anywhere
Going to the theatre is always a pleasant experience, considering there aren’t any crying babies or loud talkers in the audience, and if they have your favourite flavour of popcorn. Now what if we told you that you don’t have to visit a multiplex to get your fix of light, fluffy, crunchy popcorn in the flavour of your choice? Brace yourself as we introduce Grab Popcorn, a city-based venture that sells flavoured popcorn at their outlets across the city, and on various food delivery apps such as Swiggy and Zomato.
“When three graduates from an average engineering college dream of starting something on their own, a brand like Grab Popcorn is born,” says Reema Deshpande, co-founder, Grab Popcorn. Chetan Deshmukh and Lalit Ochani are the other two partners.
“From our engineering days, we have been passionate about food. In an age where people used to go to the places where they could get free drinks, we on the contrary used to go to the places where we could get good reasonable food. All of us are genuine foodies. Since we always hung out together, and as hostelites we used to eat out a lot, we were always keen on knowing how the food industry works. One of our friends was a movie buff, and the rest of us would happily accompany him for every movie due to our love for popcorn,” says Deshpande, recalling how the price of popcorn at the multiplex was equal to the ticket price.
“It was pretty big deal to buy popcorn at the movies back then when we were not earning. We thought why should people have to depend on going to the movies to buy popcorn, so we researched and conducted surveys for about six months and worked out the concept of selling gourmet popcorn from ideation to its execution phase,” she informs.
“People got used to the fact that good quality popcorn can only be available at theatres and hence we are ready to pay for the same. We wanted to break this stereotype and give people an opportunity to cherish popcorn not only at the movie theatres but also in the comfort of their home,” she says.
After spending sleepless nights over experimenting with various flavours and types of popcorn, the team managed to come up with a fantastic menu. “For the sweet varieties, we use the mushroom popcorn, which is bigger in size. This type of popcorn goes well with the sweet flavours. For the savoury flavours, we use the snowflake popcorn, which is smaller in size when it pops,” she informs.
“Now this was the most exciting part for us. We wanted to have the flavours that could grab everyone’s attention (apart from the regular ones). Initially, we had just four flavours, but with the great response at the outlets, we experimented with more flavours and eventually launched it one-by-one,” says Deshpande, adding, “We have divided the flavours into four categories — mild (which includes our Simply Salted,Cheese Crunch, and Sour Cream and Onion flavour), sweet (which includes our Exotic Caramel, Chocolate Overload and Litchi flavour), spicy (which includes peri-peri and smoked BBQ flavour), and Grab your mix (where you can have your fill of whichever flavours you like).”
And what a specialty the Litchi popcorn is. When you hear about the it, you cannot comprehend how the flavour of this fleshy fruit can be used to season popcorn. When you have one, your mouth recognises the crunchy texture of popcorn, but your brain is thinking — litchi. It’s incredible. “We were always fascinated about how exotic flavours would taste in popcorn and hence we experimented and surprisingly it turned out very well. We took feedback from customers and they loved it too. We have just launched the blueberry flavour and are planning to launch the butterscotch in coming weeks,” says she. The bluish-green-coloured blueberry flavour is already a hit among patrons.
With the flavours in place and quality in check, the brand has also figured out the packaging. If you want a popcorn tub, you can grab one and have it sealed on top to keep the freshness intact till you’re ready to munch, or you can order it in ziplock packets.
“Packaging was a tricky thing, we had experienced. When popcorn comes in contact with air, it has a tendency to become soggy. And since our motto is to deliver fresh popcorn to the customer’s doorstep, we needed to find a way to pack popcorn in airtight packaging. After some research, we found that popcorn remains as crunchy and fresh in airtight ziplock packages as when it is served immediately from a popcorn machine. Presently, we are serving our popcorn in this attractive white coloured airtight ziplock packaging so that the customers can munch around and eat crunchy popcorn anytime, anywhere,” says she.
With one take-away shop in Kothrud, Grab Popcorn currently has two more cloud kitchen outlets in Viman Nagar and Baner. “By the end of the year, we plan to expand to 8-10 more locations across Pune. Post that, in coming months, we want to take the brand to other cities as well. We are already in talks with a few investors to expand all over India,” she says.