By Gregory Daurer | Mar 06, 2023
As the co-founder of The Good Crisp Company, Parry knows what he considers a bad canister-style chip. As opposed to his better-for-you version, a bad potato crisp contains gluten, GMO-tainted ingredients, and "nasty chemicals" that he prefers to keep out of his family's diet.
At the natural grocery chain Whole Foods, you won't find Pringles available for purchase. But you will find cans of the Good Crisp's stacked chips, with flavors like Outback BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion, Spicy Jalapeño, and Classic Original. Cans can also be found at Walmart outlets. In fact, they're now in around 16,000 stores in the United States. Smaller markets for the company include Canada, Mexico, Dubai, Mongolia, Malaysia, and Australia. "We did well over $20 million in sales last year," says Parry -- an output totaling over 14 million canisters. "And this year, we expect to do well over $30 million in sales."
Parry began the company in his native Australia in 2013, while working for a company that developed and imported assorted foods for Australian consumers. He'd already found markets for the products coming from a maker of canister-style chips in Malaysia. "Malaysia is actually a hub of canister chips," says Parry. "They're one of the few places in the world where they sell more canister-style chips than they do bag chips." The more he dug into the data, Parry realized there was "a real opportunity here to develop a better-for-you version of of this -- and so I took my concept to them and said, 'Hey, would you make this for me?'"
As opposed to regular potato chips -- which are made from whole, sliced potatoes -- Good Crisps begin with dehydrated potato flakes. (There's legal precedence for calling products, such as the ones Parry makes, 'crisps' rather than 'potato chips.') A pasta-like paste is made out of the flakes. Then after the desired shape is stamped out, the crisps are fried and seasoned. Besides dried potato flakes, other ingredients listed on a can of The Good Crisp Company's Classic Original product include sustainable palm oil, tapioca starch, salt, sugar, and white pepper.
"It is a very unique process," says Parry of the manufacturing, requiring "a multi-million dollar piece of machinery -- that's the size of a football field -- that only makes canister chips." The machinery does it all, including mixing, frying, and packaging.
In Australia, Parry has placed his crisps in around 200 stores. But after he found interested retailers in the United States -- particularly Whole Foods -- he moved his family and the company to America four years ago. On the company's website, there's a prominently-placed photo of Parry standing with his wife and three daughters. "We want it to be known that this is a family company," he says. "There are real people behind this. It isn't a multinational conglomerate that has a cartoon face or something like that."
In fact, on the packaging for Parry's newer products -- two flavors of Cheese Balls, made using white cornmeal -- he points out the addition of the ingredient Wellmune, which reportedly "helps strengthen the immune system," after first discussing how his youngest daughter had undergone chemotherapy treatments. Trixie, who had been born with leukemia, has recovered. "She's seven years old now and healthy as can be," says Parry -- whose company donates to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Parry hopes to eventually manufacture his crisps in North America. But one thing he doesn't presently need to import is recognition. In 2022, The Good Crisp Company won top slot in the "Brand of the Year" category at Naturally Boulder's awards event.
Four years ago, Parry hardly knew a soul in Boulder. But now he considers himself part of the local natural foods "ecosystem." And he considers the award from Naturally Boulder "a real amazing encouragement and a real sign of how far we've come in those years since I moved here -- and, I guess, validating that this was the right move."
Challenges: In addition to supply chain issues leftover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it's transportation costs. Parry says, "Buying a product from Malaysia, bringing containers over -- the cost of those containers has been incredible."
Opportunities: Expanding the amount of sales outlets. Parry says, "We're in 16,000 stores [in the United States], but that's barely scratching the surface of what we can be doing out there."
Needs: More people to try the crisps in order "to build our exposure," says Parry.