Monthly Shipping Report | November 2015
- Secretary Vilsack Names Members to the Mushroom Council
WASHINGTON, Nov. 23, 2015 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has appointed three members to serve on the Mushroom Council. They will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2016, and ending on Dec. 31, 2018. Reappointed member Gale Ferranto of Kennett Square, PA.; Sonya Beltran of Kennett Square, PA; and Fred Fitz of Santa Cruz, CA.
- The Council office is moving! Our new address is 303 Twin Dolphin Drive, Suite 600, Redwood Shores, CA 94065; (650) 632-4250.
- The next Council meeting is February 3-4, 2016 in Austin, TX. If you plan on attending, please email Cheryl@mushroomcouncil.org so we can make sure you are accommodated.
- At the Council meeting held on September 16, the Council voted to increase the assessment rate from .005 to .0055 starting January 1, 2016. The last time the assessment rate was increased was 2008.
- Ballots have been verified and tabulated and paperwork has been sent to the Secretary of Agriculture for appointment. Positions are for Region 2; PA (two positions) and Region 3 (one position).
- Exemption Applications for 2016, as a courtesy, were mailed to those producers who are currently exempt. If you do not receive an application and believe you may be exempt please send an email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mushroom Council Marketing Summary – October 2015
Note: The Digital and Social Media numbers reported in the past nine months were found to be at a discrepancy with the statistics reported by the social/digital channels. Analytics pulled directly from these channels and Google Analytics are now being reported, starting in October 2015. For this reason, many of the numbers (Impressions and Page Views) will see a decline. Additionally, traditional media metrics will be temporarily unavailable while new tracking mechanisms are explored for 2016 implementation. A comprehensive 2015 media coverage report will be completed to include October – December media once the new tracking mechanism is in place.
- Warm up with Martha Stewart’s farro-mushroom soup, TODAY Food, October 2015
- Ragout of wild mushrooms with garlic and herbs, The Boston Globe, October 2015
- Recipe for farmer’s chicken with potatoes and mushrooms, The Boston Globe, October 2015
- Hunting for mushrooms? Here are 12 recipes, Los Angeles Times, October 2015
- Sick of plain old chicken for dinner? Make this instead! Chicken Scaloppine with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce, ABC’s The CHEW, October, 2015
- Butternut Squash Ravioli With Sautéed Mushrooms [Vegan, Gluten-Free], One Green Planet, October 2015
- Warm Spinach Salad With Mushrooms and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Daily Herald, October 2015
- Media highlight of the month: The Washington Post highlighted “the bounty of fresh mushrooms” this season, their umami qualities, and a range of ways to prepare them. Most notably: The Blend.
- Media activities this month included networking with national media at the James Beard Food Conference, including contributors for NY Times and National Public Radio; delivering fresh mushrooms to senior food producers at The Today Show; and conducting outreach to key trade and consumer outlets pitching The Blend as a 2016 retail and consumer trend among these outlets’ trend forecast articles.
- The Mushroom Channel published three blog posts that garnered 352 page views and accounted for .37% of all website referral traffic in October.
On the Horizon
November media activities include:
- Continued media pitching for 2016 trend-focused articles
- Preparing to leverage forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines with media outreach, spotlighting how mushrooms can help Americans meet the new recommended standards
* According to Nielsen data, the overall average of time spent on websites is 56 seconds
** Industry standard newsletter open rates (as of March 2013): 21.7% open rate and 8.3% click-through rate (Source: Epsilon).
For more detailed social analytics download the Social Analytics Report here.
As per our plan, Foodservice has kept The Blend in front of as many targets as possible during the month with more focus still to come this year.
James Beard Partnership
The promotion concluded with our five chefs cooking at the historic James Beard House as part of James Beard’s annual conference. Attendees were treated to each of the 5 burgers in this upscale Blended Burger Bash, and the results were phenomenal. The chefs told stories of how well the burger did, how surprised they were that you could create something so delicious and differentiated, how pleased their guests were and how most of them plan to continue menuing a version of The Blend. One chef also said that he is menuing the Blend in other platforms like tacos.
Other Restaurants and Chains
While The Mushroom Council did not sponsor Epcot Food and Wine Festival this year, the presence of The Blend was there in demos throughout the Festival. Several Disney chefs demonstrated their take on the Blend to thousands of consumers while The Hardy Boys, who participated in the James Beard Foundation promotion, showed their version of The Blend.
The Council did attend a major symposium for small chains including Shari’s, First Watch, Cheddars, Coppershawk and more. This GCIA event featured one of our team members presenting around menu labeling with The Blend as a major solution, and The Council had the opportunity to meet one-on-one with these chains to talk about the benefits of The Blend. Of course the attendees had several opportunities to taste burgers at the event, and as you can see, the burgers went quickly. Work with other major chains is continuing throughout the year.
Colleges and Universities and FSMs
The Council brought Mushroom Mania to University of Texas this last month where we introduced The Blend at a major outdoor BBQ and in a pop-up farmers market. The Blend showed up in burgers and in sausage while other mushroom items were served.
A group of 30 universities and the Culinary Institute of America met at Stanford University to begin a collaborative around how to create menus that deliver nutrition and, most importantly, enhanced sustainability. Universities included Cornell, BC, Harvard, Kansas State, University of Montana, USC, UC Berkeley and many more. The Mushroom Council was one of the few outside partners that was invited. Held at Stanford, where the only burgers are Blended, the executive chef created meals that signified Menus of Change principals—one of which is to add mushrooms to meat. His take was a burger that featured 80% mushrooms and 20% beef, and everyone was more than surprised by the flavor and the ability to bind.
On other fronts, two major foodservice management companies are well into testing The Blend in high volume opportunities.
The Blend was selected to compete in The World Championships of Food and took first place in the steak category and featured the highest-scoring burger, The Blend, of course.
The team, led by Lance Avery of Chicago, served up a KC Bone-In Steak with sauteed king trumpet and beech mushrooms with bacon jam and blue cheese. The Blend Burger was a ribeye cut blended with trumpet mushrooms and portabella powder topped with bacon, shiitakes, cheddar, poblano smashed avocado, lobster mushroom aioli and fried pickle.
SCHOOL NUTRITION SUMMARY
- Pilots are in planning stages for blend promotions in Nashville, TN, Greeneville, SC and the state of Florida through the Florida Department of Agriculture. Pilots will include IQF Blending as well as fresh mushroom menu usage will be included in these promotions. Tests at Cypress Fairbanks and Montana are continuing through the semester.
- An advertisement featuring the availability and benefits of IQF Mushrooms for direct delivery was featured in the October issue of School Nutrition Magazine with accompanying digital banner ads on the School Nutrition Association website.
- A direct mail featuring a case study from San Diego Unified School Districts farm to school program’s feature of Mushrooms as their Harvest of the Month was distributed to school nutrition directors.
- The Council has joined the Culinary Institute of America’s Healthy Flavors Healthy Kids collaborative. The first collaborative meeting with directors and influencers will be held in December 2015.
- The Council is planning to present an Innovation Learning Session at the upcoming School Nutrition Association’s School Nutrition Industry Conference about the uses and benefits of The Blend.
- The Council is planning to attend the Farm to School Conference to promote the new harvest of the month materials to districts attending. The Council has proposed a session highlighting the farm to school work with Montana Public Schools.
- The Council met with editors of School Nutrition Magazine at the annual IFEC conference to discuss how the Blend and case studies fit into the 2016 School Nutrition editorial calendar.
- All recipes on mushroomsinschools.com are currently being updated to meet changing meal pattern requirements. You can view the updated recipes and resources here.
Retail – Supermarket RD
- Working with SRDs at Hy-Vee and Kroger to distribute Chili and Mushroom Slider recipe cards at store events.
- Partnering with SRD at Weis to promote mushrooms and The Blend in their Healthy Bites Magazine, YouTube channel, ad circular, and in-store. The promotion runs 11/5 – 12/30.
The Council created a new handout on sodium reduction and umami in mushrooms, which is currently in its design phase and is working on finalizing copy for another handout on weight management and mushrooms.
The Council also began to curate content for its Winter issue of Nutrition News About Mushrooms e-newsletter. In this issue, registered dietitian, chef, and media spokesperson, Jackie Newgent will write a guest article on sodium reduction and umami in mushrooms.
The Council updated its Vitamin D factsheet to accommodate the new listings of UV-exposed white and brown mushrooms in the USDA Nutrient Database.
- The Council continues to target small to mid-sized regional retailers (on both coasts) for the introduction of The Blend in the grocery chain’s deli, foodservice, produce and meat departments.
- Even though the approaching holiday season makes it challenging to schedule new meetings with retailers (the holidays season is their busiest time of the year), we continue to find them interested in learning more about the benefits of The Blend. We continue to reach out to them as well as prepare for our 2016 year with newly updated sales information and co-marketing plans that promote mushrooms and The Blend at retail.
- Weis Markets has done a spectacular job of promoting and educating their shopper base on the benefits of both The Blend and mushrooms in general. Their Healthy Bites consumer publication is highly focused on mushroom recipes and nutitrion. In fact, of the 16 pages, 3 full pages plus the cover are all dedicated to mushrooms/The Blend. That equates to 25% of their total publication devoted to promoting mushrooms. It will be in stores from 11/5 – 12/30 – just in time for the holidays. It is also posted on their website.
The cover of their Weis Healthy Bites magazine features Chicken Marsala Meatballs (the meatball recipe calls for a 33% mushroom Blend). The featured recipe calls for one pound of chicken and eight ounces of mushrooms. Further, there is a QR code that leads to an online video. The video features one of their registered dieteians making the meatballs and explaining the recipe.
- Still more information on the benefits of mushrooms for weight management and nutrition as well as a section on The Blend that features Chop, Cook, Combine. Shoppers are also provided with excellent information highlighting the nutrient power of mushrooms.
- Update On The Council contacted Redner’s to “check-in” on the progress of their Blend Burger sales. They informed us that Blend Burger sales are going “Well!” Further, Meredith McGrath, their Corporate Dietitian, told us that she personally eats them “at least once a week.” In another precusor to our 2016 Council plan, the retail team is working directly with some of the industry’s shippers to promote and sell-in The Blend. More on this next month. If you or your company would like retail support from the Council’s retail team, please reach out.
- The Council attended the Produce Marketing Association’s Annual Fresh Summit Expo in Altanta, Georgia. The Council visited with mushroom shippers in their booths and discussed opportunities and ideas to further promote The Blend, Vitamin D and mushrooms. The Council was very pleased to see the level of support the shippers gave to promoting The Blend.
- In a pre-cursor to our 2016 retail plan, the Council is communicating with Supermarket Registered Dietitians to begin building relationships. As part of this effort , the Council has printed recipe cards for the Supermarket Registered Dietitians at both Hy-Vee and Kroger. The recipe cards will be used for store sampling events, shopper education and nutrition oriented information.
- The Council is in the process of lining up opportunities for 2016 co-marketing promotions. Here are few organizations that are in negotations with the Council. It is too early to determine which of these will develop into a fruitful relationship.
- The Council will be in discussions with the vice president of sales and marketing for Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Magic Seasoning Blends. The Magic Seasoning would be used in a cross-promotion with The Blend. Magic Seasoning Blends include dry spices, rubs, bottled sauces and marinades that are shipped to all 50 states and 37 countries around the world. Thanks go to Kara for connecting with Magic Seasoning Blends at the FNCE show.
- The American Lamb Board and the Council are discussing potential cross promotions for 2016. The Lamb Board hosts a “Lamb Jam Master” which is a tasting event and competition between chefs in five tour cities to create the best lamb dish in their market. The finalist have five winning chefs battling for the title of “Lamb Jam Master.” We are working on inclusion in this promotion along with other cross promotional efforts. Febuary is also National Lamb Month so other opportunities exsist to build-out co-marketing opportunities.
The MushroomAtRetail.com site has been updated with an RD testimonial, new POS material and updated links to published retail trade articles.
The Blend was featured in:
- October issues of Produce Business and Culinology Magazine
- Mushroom Industry Votes to Increase Assessment – The Packer
- Marketing leaders share insights at PMA Fresh Summit – Produce News
Tracker Highlights from 10/4/2015
Spotlight – Notable and Newsworthy
- In the 4-weeks – White Mushrooms Drive Category Growth, Up +4.5%
- In the 52-weeks – California Posted Highest Dollar Growth Rate for Total Mushrooms