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Popcorn, Indiana's Kernels Of The Future Are Hot, Prepopped, And Good For You

Until now, bagged popcorn has been strictly divided into microwavable kernels and bags of the prepopped stuff. But the innovation team at Popcorn, Indiana has found a way to merge the two. Here's why—and how—it's trying to make popcorn tastier.

The EPA found nearly four dozen chemicals in the steam released when you open a bag of microwave popcorn. Diacetyl, a flavoring agent, came under fire when factory workers developed a respiratory disease researchers call "popcorn lung."

Heat helps release the natural flavors in food, so warm popcorn actually tastes better. That's why we're willing to shell out $12 for a tub at theaters and why 70% of popcorn consumed at home is microwaved.

To fuse health, taste, and affordability, Popcorn, Indiana spent nearly three years creating a microwavable bag for prepopped corn (it looks like a potato-chip bag). Five layers of bonded poly film keep moisture out while venting properly.

illustrations by peter sucheski

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Fast Company magazine.