Prospector Popcorn re-releases Down to Sparkle limited-edition packaging for World Down Syndrome Day 2024.

Kate Bertrand Connolly, Freelance Writer

March 12, 2024

4 Slides

At a Glance

  • The limited-edition Down to Sparkle packaging design incorporates the Down syndrome awareness colors
  • Employees of the Prospector make and package the popcorn by hand, including heat sealing and labeling
  • Down to Sparkle packs are available at the Prospector theater and online

The Prospector, a Ridgefield, CT, movie theater and gourmet popcorn company, has released a limited-edition popcorn flavor called Down to Sparkle in celebration of World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD), March 21.

The Down to Sparkle flavor and packaging originally launched as a limited edition in March 2023, ahead of WDSD. In this second year for the limited edition, the company plans to produce 500 packs of Down to Sparkle.

Like the Prospector’s other popcorns, Down to Sparkle is priced $7 per 4-oz package. A Down to Sparkle three-pack is also available for $20. The popcorn’s primary packaging is a custom-printed stand-up pouch with reclosable zipper.

The Prospector, a nonprofit, is dedicated to providing competitive, inclusive employment for people with disabilities. In addition to operating a first-run theater, the company makes and packages a line of eight gourmet popcorns — plus rotating flavors like Down to Sparkle — for sale in the theater and online.

“The theme this year for WDSD is ending stereotypes. We are showing the world that the triplication of the twenty-first chromosome doesn’t mean we aren’t capable,” says Ryan Wenke, executive director of the Prospector, alluding to the genetics of Down syndrome. “Our differences should be celebrated and embraced.”

As a nod to the special chromosome, Down to Sparkle incorporates 21 ingredients, including pretzels, chocolate, marshmallows, and caramel.

As a nod to the special chromosome, Down to Sparkle incorporates 21 ingredients, including pretzels, chocolate, marshmallows, and caramel. This year’s WDSD limited edition uses the same recipe and packaging design as in 2023.

Manual filling, sealing, and labeling.

The Prospector currently employs 125 Prospects, or workers. “Approximately 75% of us self-identify with a disability, and 100% of us benefit from an increased quality of life that comes from earning a competitive paycheck,” Wenke says.

“Prospector Popcorn has created dozens of new jobs, and about 76 Prospects interface with our popcorn program each year,” he adds. Prospects not only prepare all the gourmet popcorn flavors but also package them, weighing the product and filling the pouches by hand.

After filling the package and closing the zipper, Prospects seal the pouch above the tear-open notch using a heat sealer. Prospects also manually apply flavor and nutrition labels and write the best-by date on the back of each pouch.

For each stock-keeping unit, the flavor’s name and description are displayed on a label on the front of the pouch, beneath a window that offers a view of the product. The Down to Sparkle flavor label features the Down syndrome awareness colors, yellow and blue.

The detailed line drawings on Prospector Popcorn’s pouch and gift box (six pouches per box) were created by a member of the company’s production team.

“In addition to the hand-drawn design on the front [of the bag,] conveying our diverse skill set, the window allows our customers to visually see the amount of work that goes into every kernel,” says Elizabeth Gallo, director of Prospector Popcorn operations.

Wenke adds, “Each drawing tells a story, making the bag not only visually appealing but also highlighting our diverse skill set. Color schemes, product description, the narrative on the back of the bag, photos, label placement, and packaging” are all the handiwork of the Prospector team.

By all accounts, the popcorn is delicious. And the packaging is both fun and appealing. “Like us, our bags stand out in the best way possible,” Gallo says.

About the Author(s)

Kate Bertrand Connolly

Freelance Writer

Kate Bertrand Connolly has been covering innovations, trends, and technologies in packaging, branding, and business since 1981.

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