Photo by Kathy Bradshaw

Cajun Pop Has King Cake in the Bag

17:00 February 01, 2021
By: Laurel Shimasaki

Cajun Pop's bold colored bags contain bold Louisiana flavors. If you ever wanted to try your favorite local-inspired foods and desserts, such as boiled crawfish, beignets, or Bananas Foster in popcorn form, Cajun Pop is making that highly specific dream of yours a reality. The Baton Rouge-based snack company has long been selling their treats at select stores across eight states (here in Louisiana, you can find them at grocery retailers including Rouses, Associated, and Walmart), but just this past week, the brand launched their online store—meaning you can now get Louisiana-inspired flavored popcorn shipped to any corner of the country.

A national audience of Cajun Pop-loving customers was CEO/Founder Mike Coates's vision from the beginning. "Louisiana cuisine is like no other in the world," he said in a press release announcing the new ecommerce site. "I wanted to find a way to creatively share the unique taste with people across the country." Coates is particularly excited about the king cake-flavored popcorn, saying it has been "described as 'Mardi Gras in a bag.'"

Popcorn took off as an American snack in the 1820s. The snack food was originally sold and marketed as "pearls" or "nonpareil," according to, but "by 1848, the word 'popcorn' was included in John Russell Bartlett's Dictionary of Americanisms. Bartlett claimed that the name was derived from the noise it makes on bursting open." This name change is a shame because while the onomatopoeic "popcorn" is nice, imagine a world with "cornpearls" or "poppearls."

Flash forward to 2018. The contemporary person has a non-stop lifestyle. Popcorn's popularity is ballooning, its lucrative kernel of possibility continues to appreciate. There is something called a "global popcorn market," and it's expected to exceed $15 million by 2023, according to Allied Market Research. "The busy and hectic lifestyle has motivated individuals to adopt convenient solutions, such as instant and ready-to-eat convenient food over traditional meals," AMR wrote, adding that "popcorn is a rich and concentrated source of nutrients such as proteins, antioxidants, fiber, vitamin B complex, and others, which makes it popular among households as a healthy alternative for breakfast and meals." In sum, AMR sees the near-future for planet Earth as populated by on-the-go people feeding from bags (check) in which popcorn is part of a complete breakfast (mainstream popularity of this: still pending). The increase in worldwide sales for the sweet/salty, fluffy/crunchy, buttery/skinny many-sided snack is undeniable.

It was this popcorn-friendly market that Coates entered when he started Cajun Pop in 2019, branching away from Popology popcorn and those hulking tubs at the mall. Early on, Coates enlisted help from SASSO—the marketing and advertising agency that Drew Brees has worked with since 2016. Together, Cajun Pop and SASSO wanted to capture the best of the Pelican State in their product. Their slogans were a perfect umami of kitschy and catchy, like "That's not just popcorn popping, that's the sound of Jazz in our kernels." Theme and taste are the intertwining focus for Cajun Pop, but above all, their product is about capturing Louisiana in a poppable, portable bite.

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