Popcorn is an international comfort food. Wherever there are theaters and cinemas, there is popcorn. Wherever there are families gathering on a large couch to watch an event or movie, you will almost certainly find popcorn there. Whether you’re sitting down to watch the Academy Awards or a Lord of the Rings marathon, you might want to go the easy route and pop your corn in the microwave. Orville Redenbacher and Pop Secret are two popular brands to choose from.
Orville Redenbacher has more varieties and options than Pop Secret. Their line of products include basic buttery popcorn to extra buttery popcorn, slightly sweet and salty kettle corn, a few cheesy popcorns, caramel corn, light butter, and low-fat popcorn. Orville Redenbacher also offers a line of natural popcorn including buttery, salt, salt and pepper, and lime and salt flavors. Pop Secret does not offer any natural varieties, nor do they have more than one cheese flavor or a caramel flavor.
When comparing basic butter popcorn options, both brands start with whole grain corn kernels. Orville Redenbacher then adds palm oil, salt, and trace amounts of butter, natural and artificial flavors, and TBHQ and citric acid as preservatives. TBHQ is a man-made antioxidant used to preserve oils and prevent them from going rancid. Pop Secret adds partially hydrogenated soybean oil, cream, milk, butter, coloring, and propyl gallate. Propyl gallate is another food preservative that works as an antioxidant to protect fats.
Orville Redenbacher’s butter popcorn has 10 calories less per serving than Pop Secret. It has one more gram of fat per serving, 6 grams of saturated fat, but no trans fat. Pop Secret may have less saturated fat with 2.5 grams per serving, but because it contains partially hydrogenated oil, it has 5 grams of trans fat per serving. Orville Redenbacher has less sodium per serving, and both popcorns have the same amount of carbohydrates and fiber per serving. Pop Secret has one more gram of protein per serving than Orville Redenbacher, but Orville Redenbacher contains twice as much iron.
The Healthier Choice
If you are interested in basic buttery popcorn, both brands contain similar calories per serving. However, Pop Secret uses partially hydrogenated oil and contains trans fat. Trans fats are particularly dangerous for your health because they raise your bad cholesterol and reduce your good cholesterol, increasing your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Pop Secret also contains more artificial ingredients than Orville Redenbacher. Orville Redenbacher may use palm oil, which is high in saturated fat, but because it’s plant-based it does not contain cholesterol. If you wanted the option for a more natural product as well, Orville Redenbacher can provide that for you as their line of natural popcorn contains only natural ingredients free of flavorings and artificial preservatives. Pop Secret does not yet provide any natural varieties.