Tag Archives: popcorn

Over the past few days I have been asking every teenager I have met what staple foods and drinks they would not be able to live without (not literally) and then giving them choices they had to pick from. The results were actually quite unanimous but not all that surprising (well for me) and I think certain big companies should take note of this as they may have found new target consumers.

The food of choice was the potato and the drink of choice was a cup of tea. ImageYes, that’s right, I asked 36 teenage boys and 27 teenage girls whether they would give up tea or alcohol if they could only live with one and 73% said they’d give up alcohol. This was a very small sample scale and may well just apply to Durham University students but I found it surprising (and very British, though these results may be biased by the 2012 year of the jubilee, Olympics and general Britishness) that teenagers these days would pick a cuppa over an alcoholic substance that seems to be central to so many of their surges of confidences and nights out.

I’m not surprised at all about the potato as that is a staple, and the source of chips and jackey p’s and all heavenly foods that are fundamental to teenager self catering. But the first choice of Tea! I’ve noticed that there has been less marketing over stopping binge drinking (it looks like it’s shifted more towards adults who habitually drink every night rather than binging on the weekend) but I hadn’t realised that there had been such a shift in preferences. As I said, this may all just be a total coincidence to the teenagers that I interact with who might just be abnormal teenagers with inner old granny personalities but the more that I think about it, the more that I think that yes actually, the teenager may be the actual core consumer for tea than the stereotypical granny or housewife or builder.Image

Now that my year group is now longer living together in college/halls and in separate houses/flats all over town, we generally do invite people round for a cup of tea and in the times of procrastination or just getting ready to start work or have a fry up, the tea is the first staple. When you look more into it too, the effects of having a good cuppa can be more enticing (and a lot more cheaper) than those of alcohol which usually comes with more regret anyway.

I have a previous post about the place that popcorn is beginning to play in our teenage lives, and now I can add to that and say that Tea is making a comeback. It might be to do with this whole massive surge in Britishness and patriotism but I think it’s more to do with people subconsciously realising how much they love and crave a good cup of hot tea. I will openly admit that I am a tea addict and I think that it is great that now it can be cool to be an addict for what used to not be thought of as a ‘cool’ chemical.

I haven’t even touched upon the ritual of tea making, the different types and all that jazz but the fact that it encompasses all of this not to mention the social cohesion that tea brings shows how fundamental it is to our daily lives. I think we may need to have a proper subcategory for Anthropology now, all the usual besides, just dedicated to food and drink. Maybe that can be my speciali-tea.

Tea and Potatoes

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Popcorn Part 2

Well fancy that, in today’s Evening Standard they dedicated a whole page to popcorn! It was about three London entrepreneurs, after getting funded from Peter Jones in Dragons’ Den, securing a deal with Waitrose for their upmarket ‘posh’ popcorn to be sold in its stores. The company, “Love Da Popcorn” makes weird and wacky flavour combinations for the popcorn from sweet chilli and line to honey and sea salt.

To be perfectly honest, whilst my previous post told of the growing importance of popcorn in people’s lives, I didn’t really think that this news warranted a whole page (page 27) of the newspaper. Particularly as M&S have done funky popcorn for a while now and the idea of weird tasting popcorn is not new. But perhaps this demonstrates and amplifies my earlier point of the increasing interest of popcorn with the Evening Standard feeling that members of the public would prefer to read about it than local news. Or maybe they are just starting to get bored of the Olympics and eating too much popcorn as they write their articles. 

A popcorn per word/sentence can revolutionise essay/article/blog post writing.



P.s. in case you did not know, this blog now has a twitter! Follow @teenthropology (not enough characters I’m afraid for teenthropologist!) and keep me posted on your thoughts of how the blog is going

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Popcorn and its effects

In today’s Evening Standard (a free evening newspaper given out across London), it described how Cineworld has blamed their slowdown in revenue growth on the “challenging consumer environment”, with them seeing a 2.1% decrease in spending at popcorn counters in cinemas in 26 weeks till now (a decrease from 4% growth originally at the start of the year). My first instinct was how could Cineworld be surprised considering how expensive popcorn is these days and secondly, why has it only taken till now to realise/place the blame?


In “The Armchair Economist” by Steven Landsburg (great book for anyone), he explains that whilst the obvious explanation of high popcorn prices are due to the owner’s monopolising techniques/having to cover costs like cleaning, it probably has more to do with the diverse interests of theatre goers and the relationships between liking popcorn and liking movies. I get this I guess but I don’t think it explains anything really new or really give a good explanation – how can a small box of popcorn which probably costs roughly 20p to produce, cost £5 with prices on the increase?

Of course I can’t offer an explanation on this – if Landsburg can’t (and he can offer explanations on nearly everything else in the economic rational world), then I definitely can’t. But what I can say is that if the high prices are to cover those costs like maintenance, surely it would be better to increase actual ticket prices? This might seem odd of me to say considering that my first proper post was based on me being shocked to have to pay high adult fares, but I do think that I would pay an extra £2/3 to see the new Batman film, but not £4 for a bag of popcorn that I can buy for 99p from the Sainsbury’s next door.

So to deviate this slightly and add an anthropological touch I’d like to tell you about the increasing importance of popcorn in teenage lives. You may not be aware of this not being a teenager yourself, or perhaps this just applies to my college at Durham but I have really noticed this year the dependence that teenagers have formed with popcorn. I could even argue that it is replacing the traditional comfort of a cup of tea. Not a day went by without microwave popcorn bags in our bin, nor a revision session. It does have addictive tendencies – have you suddenly got an inkling for some popcorn after reading this post? It became part of prinking, just hanging out with friends, and at times midnight trips to Sainsbury’s just to get some (wow, who would know that Sainsbury’s would get such a correlation with popcorn). I can guarantee that if you go two days with having popcorn whilst watching your evening telly, next thing you know, you will be buying boxes of Butterkist with every weekly grocery shop.

In a world filled with youths up to no good, illegal addictions and riots, it is nice to see that there is hope for new, more fun, healthier (and legal) addictions. Praise Popcorn.

…. but not it’s extortionate prices in the cinema.

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