Long gone are the days where popcorn in Egypt only came in one flavour: salted. Kukuruza, home to many flavoured varieties of popcorn, was, up until now, only available in Tokyo, Riyadh and its hometown Seattle; however, it has come to Cairo with two stores and plans to open a third. Mahmoud Saad, who brought the idea to Egypt, said it appealed to him because he found it nutritious and flavourful at the same time.
“Egypt was the targeted market from the beginning. Kukuruza attracted me because it offers popcorn with 25 different varieties of flavour and they are all air popped, so it’s delicious and healthy at the same time,” he said.
After settling on Kukuruza, Saad travelled to Seattle to make sure Egypt’s Kukuruza offers the same high-quality product as its American counterpart, which has been the foundation of its success.
“I attended a training programme and managed the terms of the deal in Seattle. All the machines, equipment, ingredients, corn and packing are imported from the US and certified through the Egyptian embassy,” said Saad.
The difference between the popcorn at Kukuruza and the one sold on street corners from little carts is the large variety of flavours available, varying from the familiar to the unexpected and from sweet to savoury.
“Sweet [flavours] are either white or brown sugar–based, and both are further divided into many flavours such as Classic Caramel, which has a brown sugar base and caramel that is made from scratch, instead of using flavouring,” said Saad. “Other flavours include the Fancy Nut Caramel, which has added caramelised nuts, the Hawaian Salted Caramel, which is a really nice mix of sweet and sour, and Cookies and Cream, made with Oreo cookies,” he added.
Kukuruza’s Rainbow Fruit, a mix of four different flavours of popcorn, strawberry, blueberry, banana and apple, are made with natural colours and is already a favourite with children. The Cinnamon Bun, made with cinnamon and caramel and white chocolate on top is one of their most popular options, according to customer feedback.
The savoury popcorn is mainly based around three kinds of cheese. “We have cheddar cheese, jalapeño cheddar cheese and chipotle cheese. We have Seattle Style, which is made with real coffee beans,” said Saad.
The setup for Kukuruza reflects the growth potential Saad feels the company has in Egypt. “We have a separate kitchen away from the stores where we make the popcorn, and from here, we distribute it [to the outlets],” he said.
Those who want to indulge in the tasty snacks can expect convenience together with freshness. “All our packaging can be resealed so you can take [the popcorn] everywhere,” Saad said. “The prices range from EGP 25 to EGP 30 for the regular pack (8 ounces), and our packs are resealed so you can take them everywhere,” he added.
Prices for a standard 8 ounce package (around 225 grams) vary form EGP 25 to EGP 30 and Kukuruza’s branches can be found in City Stars on the 3rd floor and Cairo Festival City. There are plans to open the next location in Carrefour City Centre in Maadi.