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I cook things, photograph them, and put them on this blog so you can make them too, if you want. I have a master's in food studies, hate the word "authentic," and love pierogis. I also run Chicago Food Bloggers.

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Wednesday
Mar232011

brown sugar five spice toasted almonds

"People will say, 'You open the bag, it's just baby carrots.' Well, it's just Lay's potato chips, it's just Doritos, there's nothing special about them," he says. "They're just cool and part of your life. If Doritos can sell cheeseburger-flavored Doritos, we can sell baby carrots."

That's Jeff Dunn, CEO of Bolthouse Farms, talking to Fast Company about marketing baby carrots. Bolthouse partnered with Crispin Porter + Bogusky, the advertising agency that was (until a few days ago) responsible for Burger King's ads, to market baby carrots as junk food, not as an alternative to junk food. That means packaging them in the same crinkly, single-serve bags that potato chips are often sold in, Mountain Dew-style television commercials with jetpacks and supermodels, baby carrot vending machines, snarky Twitter campaigns and, just an idea at this stage, flavored carrots.

It all sounds silly, but sales are up 10 to 12 percent in test markets. Dunn notes that, before deciding on the campaign, Bolthouse studied other commodities, like almonds and avocados, and found that marketing campaigns paid off in every single instance.

And it's not limited to the states; I remember reading about the marketing of nuts to China and India some time ago, where companies were hiring actresses and models for television commercials, billboards and print campaigns. Chinese movie star Gao Yuan Yuan was hired for a documentary and television series that was focused on California's almond country. In India, companies were attempting to create a snacking culture from scratch and transform almonds into an everyday food item. Again, it's working: ABC News says almond exports to China went from 16 million to 133 million pounds in five years.

So maybe we'll be seeing more recipes like this - almonds roasted with Chinese five spice. I love five spice powder, a blend that attempts to cover all five tastes and usually includes anise, cloves, cinnamon, pepper and fennel. If this is your first time using it, you may want to use a little bit less of the powder, as Chinese five spice is very strong - a little bit definitely goes a long way. Enjoy!

brown sugar chinese five spice toasted almonds

adapted from all day i dream about food and taste of home

ingredients
+ 1 egg white
+ 2 tablespoons melted butter, slightly cooled
+ 2 cups almonds
+ 2 tablespoons brown sugar
+ 1 1/2 teaspoons chinese five spice powder
+ 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
+ 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

recipe
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Grease or line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are frothy. Stir in the melted butter. Add the almonds and toss until they are coated evenly.

In another bowl, combine the brown sugar, chinese five spice powder, cayenne pepper and kosher salt. Toss with the nut mixture until the almonds are coated.

Spread into an even, single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes, stirring once midway through baking.

makes 2 cups

Reader Comments (4)

It is so interesting to see the marketing of food. A couple days ago I read how in Europe they are going to start packaging and selling individual bananas. If it takes off there, they planned on moving their marketing plan to the U.S. It seems silly to me because bananas have their own natural packaging, and here we are adding to the landfill just to make it more marketable.

Obviously, I find this fascinating. As well as your recipe, love its simplicity (all the ingredients are in my cupboard) and it looks like a fantastic way to spice up the almonds.

March 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterClarkie @ Beloved Green

I heard about the bananas! It reminds me of this, though, which I think is the coolest.

If you like five spice powder, I think you'll like these almonds!

March 25, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

We love to spice up our nuts ourselves. This is a nice recipe. You know what goes in and you get what comes out :) Our chef half also makes nut recipes for bar snacks from scratch.


LOVE how clean the design on your blog is! Way to go Mike- you gastronomer you!

April 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChef and Steward

Thanks, Chef and Steward! And I'm glad you like the blog design! I tried to keep it clean and content-focused.

April 11, 2011 | Registered CommenterMike Kostyo

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