“How can the greatest food culture in the world not have a chip?” Evan Holod, chief executive officer and chief troublemaker at Michel et Augustin’s US operations, Brooklyn, NY, asked his team one day during an office break. “Look around the world, you’ve got potato chips, bagel chips, pita chips, cannoli chips, plantain chips and tortilla chips,” he said. “Every major food culture has a chip. France is chipless.”
Determined to fill this gap, his team got to work experimenting with different pastries. They eventually landed on Croissant Chips due to its light and crispy texture and flavor versatility.
“It’s the perfect platform for a chip,” Mr. Holod noted. “There are also so many flavor opportunities. One of the things that makes a great chip is flexibility. This Croissant Chip you can eat alone, but there are many ways to go sweet or savory. The chip allows us to get into French food culture in a very American style.”
To keep the pastry true to its French roots, the bakery made butter the star component and kept the ingredient list short. Only US Department of Agriculture grade AA butter, flour, cane sugar, water, salt and lemon juice are used to make the snack.
“There’s nothing tastier than butter in a recipe,” Mr. Holod explained. “You know that if it has butter, it’s immediately going to be better than if it’s made with oil.
Before launching Croissant Chips at retailers, Michel et Augustin has only sold the product on its website. This has allowed the bakery to swiftly receive feedback from its core consumers on pricing and flavors and then refine where necessary.
Response to the product has been positive and has given the company the confidence it needs to expand to retail shelves. To ensure success offline, Michel et Augustin will work with retailers to create a powerful in-store experience.
“For small companies like us, it’s about capturing the consumers attention in the store,” Mr. Holod said. “That’s where the packaging is. That’s the primary impression you’re going to make. Anything you can do in that store to drive the trial of the item is far more efficient and effective than anything a company like ours can do in traditional media.”
As Croissant Chips make their way into supermarkets, Mr. Holod hopes the product can be the first French chip to connect with American consumers.
“We want to show people that pastry isn’t just white gloves, macarons and super fancy patisseries in Paris,” he said. “French food is something to be enjoyed just like anything else. There’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s delicious.”