Pineapple Kettle Korn

We begin 2010 with a review on Pineapple Kettle Korn, made by Hawaii Popcorn Company, the same folks who make and have the rights to the name ‘Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn‘.

Here’s the box…

As you can see, this includes three 3.34 oz. microwave popcorn bags. Notice it says “Sugar Free!”, which is the reason it tasted like it did, which I’ll explain later. Also notice it’s marked as Kosher (the circled ‘U’) and that it contains no meat or dairy (Pareve). Hey any added selling points always helps. Now if only it said “With Cane Sugar!” instead of “Sugar Free!”.

Here’s all the details you need to know about it…

“Pineapple Flavoring”? What’s that made of? Also notice there’s Sucralose, an artificial sweetener.

The selling point…

I’ll get straight to the point and say this product is clearly designed for Hawaii’s tourism industry, as most locals don’t buy into this whole “It has Pineapple, therefore it’s Hawaiian” thing. In fact, Hawaii barely has a pineapple industry left, with Del Monte completely pulled out, Dole having a much more scaled down production on Oahu and Maui Land & Pineapple only recently saved from the grave by a group of former executives.

Notice it says “Manufactured For Hawaii Popcorn Company”, meaning this product was most likely designed and manufactured on the mainland. Could it be ConAgra Foods? I didn’t see their name printed anywhere, so as it stands right now it’s a mystery.

Like the ‘Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn’, the microwaveable popcorn bag for this Pineapple Kettle Korn looks rather generic…

Using a high-wattage microwave oven, it popped successfully, yielding a full, stuffed bag of popcorn…

It has a 4-minute popping window, which it instructs you to stay there and monitor it until the popping repetition decreases to 1-2 seconds, which is when you stop it. Usually I rely on the automatic one-touch ‘Popcorn’ function on the nuker, but since this bag of popcorn was in limited supply, I did the manual method as instructed, and it turned out perfect…

So how is it? Very light, airy and crunchy, like a good bag of microwaveable popcorn should be. Not soggy or spongy at all, so points on that. There was also very little remaining of unpopped kernels, while the popped corn didn’t burn at all. More points for that, as you all know how horrible burnt microwaveable popcorn can both smell and taste.

Speaking of burnt popcorn, I’m wondering whether the manufacturer substitutes “real” sugar for Sucralose, because they couldn’t figure out how to make Kettle corn microwaveable popcorn pop successfully without burning using regular sugar. Perhaps it was prohibitively too costly for the R&D to perfect it. Orville Redenbacher and Act II has Kettle Korn varieties, while I notice Jolly Time also has a Kettle Corn that uses Sucralose. If you know the answer to this burning question (no pun intended), let us know!

The reason I’m rubbing the sugar issue in is because of how artificial it tastes. Almost like it’s coated with Robitussin Cough Medicine. Well, not that bad, but sort of. It just has this strange, very lightly-salted (not enough, actually), mildly-sweet, kinda’ fruity flavor in a very artificial way. You KINDA’ taste Pineapple, but unless you knew this was supposed to be Pineapple-flavored, probably wouldn’t get that at all. In fact two of my coworkers couldn’t taste Pineapple. They just said it’s “kinda’ fruity”.

Its saving grace is the quality of the popcorn itself, which is probably as good as what you’ll ever get from a microwaveable bag.

Of course nothing beats REAL Kettle-popped popcorn, where I can just fantasize throwing in small diced chunks of fresh pineapple in the kettle as it pops. Hah, how you figgah’? Sounds gooooooooood eh? lol

As said earlier, this product will probably look attractive on the shelf next to the Macadamia Nut Chocolates and Kona Coffee Blends at the corner Waikiki ABC store, yet once the unknowing tourist takes it back home and tries it, might be disappointed by the lack of Pineapple flavor and more predominantly, albeit subtle artificial fruity taste. Thankfully otherwise, it’s a quality bag of microwaveable popcorn.

What? Pineapple Kettle Korn
Who makes it? Hawaii Popcorn Company (the same folks who make ‘Hawaiian Hurricane Popcorn’)
Where did you buy it and how much did it cost? Omiyage (a gift from a coworker)
Big Shaka to: A good quality mirowaveable popcorn, being light, airy and crunchy; not soggy or spongy. Most popcorn kernels popped. Didn’t burn. Kosher. Attractive box design.
No Shaka to: There’s barely if any at all the flavor of Pineapple. There’s a very subtle fruity taste in an artificial way. Undersalted. Sucrolose. Disingenuous Hawaii tourist trap products.
The Tasty Island SPAM Musubi rating: 1


10 thoughts on “Pineapple Kettle Korn

  1. Pomai, well I will try a box of it but I more a chip kind of guy. I really will go for kettle cooked potato chip. Will send some to mainland for friends. Had some in San Francisco Farmers Market where they made it fresh it not bad .

  2. Pomai, now I have more things to send to my friends in California from Hawaii. I too not much into popcorn but chips. I really enjoy Bloomingdale in San Francisco supermarket and they got poke too. It fun dining in their many restaurants in the mall.

  3. You are amazing! I don’t know where you find all these new local products. First the spam flavored mac nuts and now pineapple flavored kettle corn.

    I have to admit that I don’t care for many products that use sugar substitutes – sometimes it okay but sometimes it tastes really BAD!

  4. Deanna, thank the ever-generous Diner E for sharing this product with us, which he got as a Christmas gift from a relative. I forgot to mention that in the article. Mahalo Diner E!
    Amy, Bloomingdale’s in San Fran’ has Poke? Very interesting. Or is that from an independently-operated restaurant subleasing in there?
    Kelike, if you try it, get back and let us know if you taste anything “Pineapple” about it.

  5. Pomai, I try it and it ok. I added some li hung mui powder to improve the taste but nah not that great. I even added choped up dry pineapple to it also not bad but again not that great.

  6. hi! I haven’t commented before, but I really enjoy your blog! My dream is to one day live in HI…. 🙂 I picked up this popcorn last time I was there in Sept, and I just recently got around to trying it. I liked it, but didn’t think it tasted like pineapple at all! But I really like the Hurricane popcorn you guys have over there; I really wish they sold it on the mainland as well!

  7. Julia, you can easily duplicate Hurricane Popcorn up there on the mainland, as from what I understand, most grocery stores around the country carry at least the basic asian grocery goods. Namely you’ll need the Furikake and Japanese Rice Crackers called Arare. My sister used to live in Missouri where getting those things weren’t a problem at all.
    Erica, I tried Li Hing powder on popcorn and wasn’t impressed either. I’ve also tried Li Hing powder on roasted Kahuku corn which  kinda’ worked, but didn’t have that “wow” factor.

  8. Fat Fudge, that statement is correct, as the total net weight of the entire contents (all three bags) is 10.47 ounces. So about 11 one ounce servings (consisting of all three bags) is correct.

  9. My cousin brought back a couple bags of this, but have only tried the pineapple flavored one, and found it satisfying, since I’m not supposed to have the real stuff. Being diabetic, I’ve had to “settle” for things that aren’t as bad for me, and this was one of them. I’ve asked friends to see if they can find some and bring it back for me. You’re right–very few unpopped kernels. And I ate the whole bag myself, without any negative results from the sucralose, if you know what I mean. Sure, I’d prefer the real thing….but I’d rather live a little longer.

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