Ethanol Popping Popcorn Prices?

The “fuel vs food” debate over corn-based ethanol has been heating up over the past months as presidential candidates have been backing the biofuel (John Stossel alert.) One thing’s for sure, some popcorn makers aren’t happy about a rise in the price of corn and the seed to grow the corn.

We just heard this audio clip on NPR:

“Blame the boom in demand for ethanol for higher popcorn prices at a theatre near you. . . The company that makes Jolly Time Pop Corn reports price increases of 10 to 20 percent. Other makers report price hikes as high as 40 percent” — NPR

The Globe and Mail writes a similar story and quotes Jolly Time’s president Garrett Smith:

“I’ve never seen something quite like this,” said the company’s president Garrett Smith, who’s been in the business for three decades. He had to pay farmers almost 70 per cent more this spring than last year to grow his popcorn and has had to boost prices for movie theatre popcorn and jars of unpopped corn. — Globe and Mail

The ethanol government/industry group Ethanol Across America tries to minimize the fuel vs food debate in a report on its website:

For more than three decades, critics have tried to cast ethanol as a “food versus fuel” argument. The marketplace is a better indicator of grain supply and demand—and statistics simply don’t bear out the dire predictions of those who say we must choose between fueling our cars and feeding people. We can do both—and we are.


We wrote about the anti-ethanol report, “The Rush to Ethanol: Not all biofuels are created equal”, last week, which was created by The Network for New Energy Choices, Food and Water Watch, and the Vermont Law School.

Ethanol Across America responds to ‘The Rush to Ethanol” report in this CNN article:

“. . . Corn clearly is a bridge technology to using cellulose and other things,” [Ethanol Across America, director Douglas] Durante said. But the criticisms, he said, are “like beating up a little kid because he’s not done growing yet.” — CNN


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