Eric L’Hôte got the idea for Le Craquant savoury biscuits on a TGV train journey to Paris.
“I was frustrated at not being able to find anything good eat that was savoury so I thought ‘why not make it myself?'”
With a background in business and financial consulting, L’Hôte was well-positioned to deal with the enterprise side of things but entering the world of agri-food was unchartered territory.
“I didn’t know anything about all the food industry. The ISARA incubator was therefore invaluable in giving advice on manufacturing hygiene and food safety laws as well as providing processing equipment."
L’Hôte has now invested in his own machinery, sells in specialist organic shops around France and is ready to scale up.
The range of savoury biscuits will meet a currently unmet need in France, he says.
“The concept of snacking in France covers lots of things from fast-food burgers to cereal bars, sweet biscuits or fruit-based bars while on the savoury side you have crisps but that’s not enough if you’re hungry.
“I looked to the Mediterranean for inspiration for the flavours and wanted to use durum wheat semolina because it is whole and nourishing. French biscuits and patisserie typically use a light flour which is highly refined. I wanted it to be more filling.”
The result is fibre-rich, vegan biscuits - the fat comes from olive oil – that retail for around €1.50 for a pack of three and €3.40 for nine, and are available in three flavours: basil & garlic, sun-dried tomato and olive.