AMC Theatres has hired food industry veteran Ellen Copaken to spearhead the cinema giant’s efforts to expand into the retail popcorn business.
Copaken, who held executive positions at Frito-Lay, Pepsico and Hostess Brands, becomes vp of growth strategy, starting on Feb. 18. In the new post, she will lead AMC’s initiative to sell prepackaged and ready-to-pop microwaveable brand popcorn to shopping malls, grocery stores and food delivery services across the U.S. market.
Copaken will report to Mark Pearson, chief strategy officer, at AMC. “She (Copaken) has a superb track record in brand management and innovation at Frito-Lay, PepsiCo and Hostess Brands. Her executive ability combined with her significant grocery experience will be a vital asset to AMC as we explore and deliver on current and future opportunities, starting with our new popcorn initiative,” Adam Aron, chairman and CEO of AMC, said in a statement.
Last November, AMC announced it would begin selling its branded popcorn in supermarkets, convenience stores and other food service venues starting in 2022. The multi-billion U.S. popcorn market is expected to grow over the next several years, and is a natural extension of AMC’s core business, the company says.
Beginning this year, AMC will start selling “AMC Theatres Perfectly Popcorn” at kiosks, counters and stories in retail malls across the country. Additionally, AMC plans to make its branded popcorn popped in nearby theaters available through food delivery-to-home services.
AMC will also sell to-go packages of branded popcorn from its theatres for takeout or pickup.