Tangerine confectionery is hoping for a blockbuster performance from Butterkist as it looks to make it the popcorn of choice for movie fans.

The UK’s top-selling popcorn, which holds a 55% share of the market, is being relaunched with new-look packaging and formats - including a cinema-style cardboard carton - designed to firmly associate the brand with movies.

Butterkist had grown just 1.8% by value year-on-year in an overall popcorn market up 17% [SymphonyIRI 52 w/e 7 July 2012]. Brands including Tyrrells and Metcalfe’s Skinny Topcorn have entered the market in recent years, widening the range of flavours available to consumers, and Cadbury rolled out chocolate-coated popcorn three months ago.

“We are a market-leading brand,” said Tangerine CEO Graham Hunter. “When you are the top-selling brand but are not growing as fast as the market, you need to look at what’s going on.”

Research by the company showed people continued to associate popcorn with the movies and family occasions. “We realised we needed to do something radical with the brand to move it more firmly into that space,” said Hunter.

The revamped range - which will roll out from the end of this month - comprises sharing bags, tubs and multipacks, and Toffee, Cinema Sweet, Salted and Sweet & Salted flavours. The 500g Big Night In carton (rsp: £4.50) will launch in mid-September.

Tangerine is producing microwaveable Butterkist popcorn in salted, sweet, and butter flavours, and promised more NPD in this area. The company will also be expanding the range of flavours offered by the brand.

Buyers had responded well with listings, said Hunter, adding that the relaunch would be supported by promotions from September and advertising activity.