Tuesday, 21 February 2012 11:10

Confusing consumers doesn't lead to more sales

I was in a grocery store last week and I saw that they were carrying both El Monterey Chili and Picante burritos. I've never seen both in one store and have in fact bought Chili thinking I was getting Picante only to get home and spit them back out. I'm not a fan of my frozen burritos tasting like Chili powder. If I wanted chili powder in my mouth I'd combine it with tomatoes  and make chili with it. The Picante burritos though I like and after that unfortunate incident I've had to be very careful to read the package to make sure I was in fact getting Picante and not Chili flavored burritos. 

This display though accentuates the problem - El Monterey has two products that look nearly identical. Yes the shade of red is slightly different and there are a few words that are not identical but I feel these two products need to be more unique. So let's think about having two products nearly the same, most stores won't carry both because the number of people grabbing the wrong one and then returning them probably goes up. I don't know the protocol for returned goods but I bet it's a write off. So by only being able to sell one OR the other in each store you're cutting your market in half. It would seem that by making the packages drastically different they could put another product out there and increase sales. Just an observation.

Published in Food Blog
Monday, 20 February 2012 23:22

Phad Thai - it's what's for dinner

Phad Thai is a very easy meal to make at home if you have the right ingredients. There are several brands of Phad Thai sauce on the market and frankly I'm not entirely happy with any of them alone. However upon buying several and inspecting the ingredients list and tasting them I've found an alternative to making my own Phad Thai sauce - speedball them! Mae Ploy one of my favorite Asian product makers focuses on fewer ingredients in their jarred Phad Thai sauce and only lists 11 items. Ingredients include palm sugar, shallot, water, fish sauce, soy bean oil, vinegar, tamarind, red chili, salted radish, dried shrimp and salt.  Por Kwan, another popular company has 14 ingredients so in exchange for the shallots in Mae Ploy's sauce they have onion and garlic, tartaric acid, citric acid and sodium metabisulphate. From the ingredients list the Mae Ploy definitely sounds like the better product but the overall effect is a sweeter sauce. After experimenting I've found the best combination is a 50/50 mix of both sauces.  I use one large jar of Mae Ploy and two small jars of Por Kwan.

I'd post a recipe but for something this simple there really doesn't need to be one. The following directions are very loose so feel free to vary them as you see fit. 

  1. Soak one pound of Rice Sticks in hot water for about 15 minutes or until just soft, drain
  2. Slice (2 lbs?) chicken breasts into 1/4 inch thick slices and no more than 1/2 inch in width, brown in frying pan
  3. Pour all jars of sauce in blender with a cup of water and blend, pour in saute pan along with drained noodles (time saver)
  4. Beat 4 eggs in bowl and fry lightly in frying pan until just firm, break up in small pieces and add to noodles
  5. Add chicken to noodles
  6. Finely slice the green stem part of 4 green onions, add to noodles
  7. Finely chop a handful of peanuts, add to noodles
  8. Add two handfuls of mung bean sprouts to noodles
  9. Serve
Notes:
Blending the sauces and water saves a ton of cooking time. Since the noodles and chicken are already cooked all you're really doing is bringing it together. If you put the sauce in directly you have to wait for it to get hot enough to "melt" at which point you've probably cooked the very sensitive rice sticks until they've turned to mush. Blend, pour, warm, eat.

Published in Food Blog