Company: Maine Crisp Company
Introduced: April 2021
Suggested Retail Price: $6.99
Product Snapshot: The first plant-based product developed by Waterville-based Maine Crisp Company will be available online and on retail shelves in time for celebrating Earth Day on April 22, 2021. In response to explosive growth within the plant-based market segment, Maine Crisp’s Fig & Thyme crisp offers a savory, dairy-free alternative to the award-winning manufacturer’s sweeter, dairy-inclusive product mix.
Now a $5 billion industry, plant-based foods grew five times faster than total-food sales in 2019, according to the Plant Based Foods Association. Over the past year, plant-based milks far outpaced cow’s milk, which stagnated while dairy alternatives grew 5 percent to capture 14 percent of the market. After conducting their own market research, Maine Crisp found that many gluten-intolerant consumers are also dairy-intolerant, representing an opportunity to augment their naturally gluten-free crisp to achieve deeper market penetration.
“Experimenting with a plant-based crisp was a natural evolution of our gluten-free, non-GMO brand, both in light of national trends and our local customer’s preferences,” explains Karen Getz, Maine Crisp co-founder and VP of product development. “But it was also a fun chance to add a savory flavor profile to our product family, which tends to be sweeter with clover honey, maple syrup, and dried fruits. Savory Fig & Thyme has a snappier bite with warm, peppery notes and no refined sugars.”
The basis of all Maine Crisp crisps is buckwheat, a naturally gluten-free ancient grain that Maine Crisp sources from Bouchard Family Farms in Aroostook County. The new plant-based Fig & Thyme crisp also blends hemp hearts, walnuts, and Maine maple syrup for depth of flavor.
Perfect for a celebratory charcuterie board, Savory Fig & Thyme pairs well with dips, spreads, and both dairy and vegan cheeses. Getz recommends Hope® Sea Salt & Olive Oil Hummus, Mt. Vikos Roasted Eggplant Spread, and SunButter Sunflower Seed Butter to spread atop the crisps, as well as Treeline Plant-Based Creamy Scallion Cheese and Miyoko’s Smoked Vegan Mozzarella.
During its local soft launch in early 2021, Savory Fig & Thyme sales outpaced Maine Crisp’s three non-plant-based flavors, Cinnamon Maple, Blueberry Walnut, and Cranberry Almond, in many retail stores and online. Reporting on the new flavor’s popularity, wine and specialty food market Meridians co-owner Josh Sullivan, in Fairfield, Maine, recounted a customer exclaiming, “The fig flavor caught my attention but I never would have thought that fig and thyme would pair well. I decided to try it, and wow does it go well with a brie or creamy blue!”
Consumers may order the new plant-based Savory Fig & Thyme crisp, along with Maine Crisp’s three additional flavors, online at mainecrisp.com, or find them in retailers ranging from independent specialty shops to Hannaford stores and Whole Foods Markets.