Crackers might once have been the unsung heroes of both the snacking and charcuterie worlds, but consumers are now singing their praises with enthusiasm. Tapping into this cracker mania is Maine Crisp, a burgeoning company that is at the forefront of innovation in the sector. I tapped Mark Paradiso, the company’s new National Director of Sales, to learn more about how Maine Crisp is working to become a household staple.
“Maine Crisp is giving consumers in both the gluten-free and non-gluten-free spaces a versatile cracker that they can dress up or down,” Mark noted. “We have a crisp that appeals to those with or without dietary restrictions. Our crisps can easily elevate any cheese and charcuterie board adding subtle sweetness and herbaceous flavors to any bite. They can be enjoyed dipped in peanut butter, hummus, or just about any other spread. Because of this variety, they are found not just in the gluten-free section at stores, but in specialty, deli, and featured snack sections. By being a good product, not just a good gluten-free product, store buyers are more apt to give us visibility in specialty areas.”
Founded in 2014 by Karen and Steve Getz, Maine Crisp’s mission has always been to create a better-for-you cracker that would match or exceed the flavor of other high-end crackers on the market.
“Our products are made with buckwheat flour and bound solely with ground flaxseed during the baking process. This eliminates starches, gums, fillers, additives, emulsifiers, and basically any other titles that can weigh down an ingredient list,” Mark explained. “When consumers pick up our product, time and time again they regard the ‘clean label’ we provide. This isn’t the case for most gluten-free products. We have created a gluten-free cracker that if tasted blind, one would not assume they were gluten-free. The sophisticated depth of flavor is rarely found in this category of the market.”
Although Maine Crisp is undoubtedly bringing high-quality flavor to the table, it also has an extensive retail and merchandising background—making it a well-rounded supply partner to retailers.
“We enjoy interacting with our retail partners, as well as chefs and cheesemongers. Maine Crisp strives to provide a clear message about who will most enjoy our products, why they will enjoy them, and which other products compliment them best," Mark said. "We reinforce all those efforts with outstanding POS materials, a robust web site, social media presence, and responsive customer service to support our retailers.”
Young in years only, Maine Crisp has the strategic chops to build a name for itself—and has already implemented specific tactics to ensure that the state of Maine becomes synonymous with delicious cracker varieties.
“We have invested heavily in social media for a young company of our size and have a deep library of visual content for educating our retail partners and consumers on complementary partners for our crisps such as cheese, charcuterie, and dips. With the COVID-19 crisis and wanting to support the right type of 'in-home' activities that are fun, safe and nutritious, we are beginning to de-emphasize the larger gatherings and showing more family shots, homemade cheese and cracker boards as well as pairings from what foods are already in the cupboard or readily available from a single deli,” Mark concluded. “We are offering in-store demo support and have initiated a program that gives stores custom-built wooden displays with our branded logo and POS materials. We are developing promotional incentives to reward both the retailer and consumer, and partnering with like-minded brands in the social space to expand our brand reach.”
An arsenal of strategies, a new Sales Director, and a better-for-you-product to boot means that Maine Crisp is a company to put on your must-watch list.