Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Between 1955 and 1959 two easy-to-make popcorn products were introduced to American consumers. In 1955 Benjamin Coleman of Berkley Michigan designed and patented EZ Pop popcorn. He marketed his product through the Taylor-Reed Corporation. Four years later Frederick C. Mennen, owner of Mennen Food Products in La Porte Indiana, developed a very similar product called Jiffy Pop. Jiffy Pop was an immediate commercial success.
Both products contained popcorn kernels, flavored oils, and salt packaged in a light-weight aluminum pan with an expandable foil cover. Taylor-Reed sued Mennen Food Products for copyright infringement and won the case, but the decision was reversed on appeal. The appellate court determined a noteworthy difference in the products’ packaging: the foil top on Jiffy Pop pans was folded in a spiral while the foil on the EZ Pop pan was a less-efficient flattened “button.”
Mennen quickly sold Jiffy Pop to American Home Products which marketed the snack food under the tagline “it’s as much fun to make as it is to eat.” Eventually Jiffy Pop was acquired by ConAgra Foods.
While microwave popcorn replaced Jiffy Pop in many homes, the product is still popular for campers.
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org