Microwave popcorn tends to conjure a certain set of thoughts when you mention it to people. Whether you love it or not, fans and critics alike will admit that it's greasy, it has a somewhat unnatural yellow color, and it isn't very healthy. A Minnesota-made brand of microwave popcorn is aiming to change all of that with a completely different take on the convenient snack.

Smude's Microwave Popcorn claims to be a healthier alternative to other microwave popcorn brands, using no chemicals or additives and consisting of only three ingredients. Those three ingredients? Popcorn, salt, and the ingredient that makes it all different - sunflower oil.

Sunflower oil is on the same plain as olive oil, offering higher levels of "good" fats and other nutrients when compared to the oils found in normal microwave popcorn. Adding to the narrative that Smude's popcorn is a healthier alternative than regular microwave popcorn is that they use a non-fluro bag that contains no waxes to hold the oil. Several varieties of normal microwave popcorn use these compounds, which are considered to be potential carcinogens.

The challenge of how to keep the sunflower oil in the bag without the waxes or chemicals many other microwave popcorn products was the biggest challenge, keeping the product from coming to market until late 2017.

Check out our review of Smude's Microwave Popcorn in the video above!

How did it all come to be? The company's website explains that Tom and Jenni Smude of Pierz, Minnesota, started planting sunflowers after a rough year for their crops in 2007. Sunflowers are a more resilient crop, being more drought-tolerant than other crops they had dealt with. This eventually led to exploring ways to use the sunflower crop. One of those solutions was this popcorn.

Smude's offers a whole line of sunflower products through their online store that includes not only the microwave popcorn (and low-sodium microwave popcorn), but also bags of sunflower seeds, sunflower oil, and more. Their popcorn and sunflower oil is found at a number of retailers around Minnesota, including many Cub Foods and Coborn's stores. If you're looking for it in Duluth, however, the only place to get the product is at The Blue Heron Trading Co. in the Dewitt-Seitz building in Canal Park.

They offer their regular and low-sodium versions of the microwave popcorn through their online store in 3-pack boxes for $4.99.

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