Preferred Popcorn delights customers around the world with high quality, non-GMO popcorn. Every year more than 1 billion servings of Preferred Popcorn are sold by movie theatres, grocery stores, kettle corn poppers, and concession stands. We currently ship popcorn to more than 65 countries with the largest consumer bases in Mexico, China, Japan, Indonesia, Columbia, and India. Our company employs 80 people, and half of our current workforce is employed due to exports.
Exports account for approximately half of our total sales, with the percentage generally hovering just above 50%. NAFTA has been particularly helpful for us in developing the Mexican bulk popcorn market, one of our strongest purchasing regions. We sold our very first load of popcorn to Indonesia in 1999 and then quickly developed strong customer bases in Asia and Mexico. The U.S. popcorn market was heavily saturated with well-recognized brands, so we focused much of our energy on reaching international markets. During our early years, international sales made up the majority of our business. We have leveraged the services of Export-Import Bank and the Branded Program to rapidly grow international sales. Both programs have been invaluable to Preferred Popcorn in the growth of our business.
As one of the largest popcorn producers in the world, we are able to meet the consumption demands of entire countries, but we do so with the same small-town, personal customer service we provide our friends and neighbors. As a commodity crop, popcorn pricing fluctuates and we have to be able to move with the market. We need Washington to help us remain competitive with global markets and lower the barriers that tariffs create for us. It would be extremely helpful in streamlining international logistics if lawmakers in Washington could address other trade barriers that are non-tariff related like highly inconsistent restrictions and regulations. Due to agricultural advancements in the United States, our farmers can compete with any farmers in the world.
We have tremendous advantages in technology, research, and fertile growing regions, but we can’t compete with governments, and we need Washington’s help to break down tariffs and other restrictions that deeply impact our ability to sell our popcorn around the world.