Popped Sorghum: The New Smart Food?

Popghum

Popghum

I Paid: $18 for six 3-ounce bags (prices may vary by region)

Taste: 3 stars

Marketing: 3 stars

You can't accuse the Popghum people of not trying. While pushing their rather strange new product, an organic popped sorghum snack designed to go head to head with popcorn, the producers make a lot of ambitious claims. These include that "it's like popcorn—only better"; that it tastes, to be even more specific, "just like mini premium popcorn, only slightly sweeter and with a better crunch"; and that "best of all, it doesn't have those pesky hulls. They're a choking hazard and a real pain in the gums!"

Seriously? A choking hazard? Sure enough, the American Academy of Pediatrics seems to think so—at least for young kids.

So, what of the bold and boastful taste claim? Popghum is not like popcorn only better. It's like smaller, slightly stale popcorn, and it's sort of annoying trying to gather together enough of the itty-bitty kernels to make up a mouthful of the stuff. That said, when well seasoned (as in the Grey Sea Salt variety), it's pretty tasty, and certainly resembles its nemesis enough to compel repeated snacking. The only other flavor currently on the market (Chili & Cheddar) is a bit of an underpowered disappointment, but upcoming flavors, such as Ethiopian Berbere, Apple Pie Spice, Caramel & Sea Salt, Green Curry, Spicy Cajun Creole, and Caribbean Adobo, sound promising.

So, Popghum is more irritating to eat but is a healthier alternative to conventional buttered popcorn (and a safer option for younger diners). Plus, it's hard not to root for entrepreneurs who have the guts to take on one of the best-established snacks on the market.

James Norton edits the Upper Midwestern food journal Heavy Table. He's also the coauthor of a book on Wisconsin's master cheesemakers. Follow CHOW on Twitter, and become a fan on Facebook.