Address: Rte of St Caradec, 56920 Saint Gérand, France
Phone: +33 2 97 25 96 96
Website: www.altho.fr, www.brets.fr
Breton Chips (Bret’s) began in 1991, when Alain Glon created a cooperative of potato farmers. They shared varieties and cultivation techniques, and in 1995, the company Altho, a group of family-owned SMEs located in central Brittany, was formed.
The plan was to develop great quality Breton Chips to tackle the snacking market.
A manufacturing plant was set up with a single production line and sixteen employees. The small company produced 800 tonnes of Chips annually.
Today, the company employs between 240 and 400 people (depending on the season), and 20,000 tonnes of Chips are produced a year. The production accounts for one in every three Potato Chips eaten in France. The annual turnover is in excess of 80million Euro.
Bret’s is gaining ground on the market leaders with its natural cooking approach, specifically tailored to the French market, with innovative flavours like Caramel au Beurre sale and Indian Curry.
The packaging is especially eye-catching among the more traditional designs and the forward thinking company is all set to tackle the future. Not least via its private label programme – they supply Auchan, Carrefour and Aldi, among others.
Bret’s Au Fromage du Jura Potato Chips
These wavy, crunchy chips provided a smooth buttery cheese taste that worked very well with the potato. It tasted a lot like a jacket potato with melted butter. The cheese was less prominent, but it was very much the taste of a warm comforting snack around a crackling coal fire on a dark winter's night. Oddly, the cheese smell was more pronounced than the taste of the chips themselves.
Bret’s Fromage Frais Fines Herbes Chips
The French language is so romantic it manages to make herby cream cheese sound this glamorous. A Nose Plunge Test also revealed a herb smell, which was a good start. The thickly cut rippled chips brought out the creaminess of the potato, which was added to by a stronger creamy cheese than a more familiar sour cream and onion version would ordinarily provide, and there was a nice backdrop of herbs. I want to say dill, but that was more by inference.
Bret’s Pesto Mozzarella Chips
My initial thought, when I tucked into these gently rippled chips, was why? Why did you have to add the word mozzarella Brets? There was a creamy backdrop, and yes, I know this would have been the mozzarella’s influence, but it is such a nondescript flavouring in the chips and crisps world that it meant little to me or the chips themselves, which screamed glorious pesto. The creamy pesto was, however, perfectly executed. The potato would have added the creaminess. There was no reason to over-egg the pudding. They were borderline great chips but were let down by a pointless addition.
Bret’s Petits Oignons Chips
Okay, we have a difference of opinion. These were described as small onions on the bag. The imagery featured looked a little shallot-like to me. The fortunate thing was this difference of opinion and easy to suggest language barrier creating, was largely irrelevant. Both types of onions could be mild, which is precisely what these ridged chips were. They were solid, mild, onion, bashing the balance between potato and onion perfectly. No additions, no fancy flavouring partners, just straight down the middle, mild onion.