Nebraska Popcorn Producer Takes Home International Honor

Nebraska popcorn producer takes home international honor

by Rachel Lake
Story Created: Sep 23, 2011 CDT
Story Updated: Sep 23, 2011 at 5:35 PM CDT

Move over Orville! A Nebraska farmer is showing he can pop popcorn with the best of them. News Five's Rachel Lake visited the Preferred Popcorn Plant in Chapman, Nebraska.

This company recently got first place in a big taste testing contest. Preferred Popcorn was named the best tasting popcorn in the 2011 Screen Trade International Popcorn Challenge.

It even beat out Orville Redenbacher.

Now, I'm from a town next to Valparaiso, the birth place of Redenbacher's popcorn, so I wanted to stay loyal to my Indiana roots.
But that'll be hard after tasting Preferred Popcorn.

You may not recognize the name, but you likely know the taste.

Preferred Popcorn is served in every concession stand and Target store in America. And its kernels are shipped around the world to more than 50 countries.

"If I set goals I wouldn't have set them this big," said Norm Krug.

Norm Krug is the CEO and co-owner of Preferred Popcorn. His business started as a dream in these golden fields.

"As I was going up and down the cornfield I guess it was the beginning of a vision that would be really neat to reactivate that plant and start it back up and employ local people," Krug said.

That was almost 15 years ago. Today, Norm employs 35 people at his plants in Nebraska and Indiana and contracts with 75 farmers to grow the corn.

While Norm won't give away all his secrets to making good popcorn, he says it all starts with the right seed and the right climate.

"You have to have the moisture exactly right and the conditioning exactly right, timing and the variety and the right soils there's a little bit of art involved," said Krug.

It is an art Norm has mastered.

"People in the U.S. and around the world can know when they open up that bag they're gonna have a great tasting product," said Krug.

You can find Preferred Popcorn in any local store such as Russ's, Super Saver and Hyvee. And you don't have to worry about calories.
Norm says popcorn itself is high in fiber and nutritious.