Shipping Reports

Monthly Shipping Report | October 2015

October 28, 2015


  • The next Council meeting is February 3-4, 2016 in Austin, TX. If you plan on attending, please email [email protected] 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 will be mailed, as a courtesy, on or about November 1st to those producers who are currently exempt. If you do not receive an application and believe you may be exempt please send an email [email protected].


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To see current charts click here.



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  • With the conclusion of the Burger Project, the five winners received local media coverage, including Chef Dan Nichols on WISH-TV in Indianapolis as well as a community radio program. Other winning restaurants in Memphis and Shreveport, Louisiana, gained traction in local online and print outlets for their inventive blend burgers.
  • During September, The Mushroom Channel engaged with nine food service partners including Carls Jr., Veal Made Easy, Applebee’s, Watermelon Board, Rockit Burger Bar, Newk’s Eatery, Culinary Institute of America, Carrabba’s Italian Eatery and Jack in the Box.
  • September Mushroom Month was filled with all types of content, including: video, social media and editorial. From conducting media outreach to partnering with top video sites and bloggers, all messaging surrounding mushrooms permeated the media. The month’s content included:
    • YouTube cooking show Tasted created a four-episode video series—the Mushroom Chef Down series. Tasted visited the kitchens of four trendy dining establishments in Los Angeles, where the chef and a friendly rival faced-off in a mushroom-inspired culinary battle. Judges in each episode taste-tested the dishes and crowned the winning dish.


  • Search ad words accounted for 8.6 percent of total visits in September. Top performing paid keywords included: mushroom recipes, mushroom and beef meatloaf, and soup.
  • Chef and influential blogger Billy Parisi developed a three-minute video on mushroom basics and the blend, which was also transformed into six, 15-second Instagram clips. The videos were simplistic and informative, and showcased six ways to cook mushrooms: raw, sautéed, grilled, roasted, loose blend and tight blend. Each video corresponded with beautiful photography and handy cooking tips, all of which were cross-promoted on the Council’s platforms and Billy’s social sites.
  • Media pitching focused on health benefits, versatility, recipes and of course, the blend. Media coverage was secured in three prominent print magazines (audiences of nearly 20M) highlighting the benefits of mushrooms, including:
    1. Every Day with Rachael Ray
    2. Cooking Light
    3. Shape

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On The Horizon

  • October media outreach focused on fall trends and themes: tailgating, stuffed mushrooms, fall flavors and comforting meals.
  • JBF Food Conference in NYC to feature the five BBP winning chef’s blend burger recipes at the welcome reception on 10/18 at the James Beard House.



This month was focused on planning while continuing to move The Blend forward on menus.

James Beard Partnership
Continuing to follow up on the roll-up to the James Beard Foundation October Conference, the Council is working with the 5 winners who will be cooking at the opening reception for hundreds of other chefs and influencers. One of the winning chefs, Rob Ray from Belly Acres in Memphis said, “ At Belly Acres, we are proud of what we do and always try to offer a better option for families: healthy, sustainable, fresh….we are proud of our products, proud of our farmers and we are proud to be a part of the Better Burger Project.

Other Restaurants and Chains
While several chains are ending their major mushroom-burger LTOs, others were looking at new promotions. Firebirds Grill, which has menued a Blend burger as an LTO last fall is in the midst of another Blend burger LTO, this time in a Southwestern flavor profile. Firebirds also is menuing a Pepper-Crusted Burger with Blue Cheese and Port Mushrooms and a Portabella Sandwich with Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato, Spinach, Herbed Goat Cheese, Balsamic Drizzle on Rosemary Focaccia. Pizza Hut was featured in a national blog and talked about their meat-mushroom blended meatball. And Disney is about to begin their Epcot Food & Wine Festival where several chefs will be demo-ing The Blend to consumers.

Colleges and Universities
With more colleges adopting the Blend, Mushroom Mania rolled into South Bend, Indiana to the University of Notre Dame, an influential university in college dining. Celebrity Chef Jehangir Mehta was on hand to demo The Blend, speak to students and host a private lunch for officers. The university turned the grill station into a Blended Burger Project initiative and served mushroom-blended burgers made with mushrooms and salmon, mushrooms and beef and mushrooms and chicken.


The next week, the Council worked with two universities that were playing each other in football. At the University of Massachusetts prior to the Saturday football game against Notre Dame, the university invited the Executive Chef of Notre Dame to visit and cook up some Irish food. Of course, he prepared several dishes that included mushrooms as well as an item with portabella-bacon sausage.



  • The promotions in the Cypress Fairbanks district and the state of Montana are progressing with menu development and marketing communication planning. Testing with students will begin before the end of the semester. The promotions will test IQF direct delivery mushrooms blended with local meat for burgers, tacos, chili and more.
  • 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 the availability and benefits of IQF mushrooms for direct deliver was shared with the state recipients and agencies in charge of commodity ordering. The document will encourage the state recipients to communicate with their districts about purchasing mushrooms.
  • 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.
  • All recipes on are currently being updated to meet changing meal pattern requirements. You can view the updated recipes and resources here.



  • Delivered industry webinar on how to leverage SRDs and nutrition resources to increase sales.
  • Hosted Mushroom Council dinner at the Food and Nutrition Conference & Expo (FNCE) in Nashville at Chauhan Ale & Masasla House on October 4th. Over 25 dietitians (media, blogger, SRD) attended. Walked away with a handful of leads that are interested in collaborating with the Council. Following-up with dietitians post-FNCE to identify opportunities to work together.


  • Reached out to SRDs at Hy-Vee, Kroger, Redner’s, HAC to congratulate on CA Avocado recipe contest win. Sending Blend recipe cards for store promotions and events as result of outreach.
  • Coordinated details of future Blend partnership with Weis.
  • Followed-up with Reasor’s RD and send Blend recipe cards for future store events

Nutrition Education



The Council continues to target small to mid-sized regional retailers (on both coasts) for the introduction of The Blend in grocery chain’s deli, foodservice and meat departments.

In advance of meetings with corporate buyers, The Council made preliminary visits to Zupan’s Markets, New Seasons Market, Winco Foods, and MOM’s market. A review of their deli and foodservice departments were reviewed to assess how The Blend would fit into their product mix.

The American Egg Board shared mushroom recipes and did a Mushroom Monday campaign during the month of September. The AEB shared mushroom recipes and a Mushroom Monday campaign. Their mushroom recipe had 13.2K impressions; their breakfast tweet generated 2,711 impressions.

The Council had a meeting with Dan Shannon. Adams Reserve is a leading brand of extract and spices. They work closely with HEB Cooking connections with 340 stores. They also have a private label brand for Kroger in 2,900 stores. We discussed a possible co-marketing opportunity for The Blend for next year.

The Council had a call with Gina Nucci of Mann Packing. We discussed a co-marketing opportunity to promote their Burger Leaf Lettuce with a Blend Burger promotion in 2016. They are interested in a potential cooking event.

Weis Markets is carrying a Portabello, Swiss Burger Blend four to a pack. The Blend is featured in Weis Market’s Healy Bites magazine.

The Council is in the process of lining up opportunities for 2016 co-marketing promotions.

The Council created an Infographic to help retailers, customers and others understand what combination of meat and mushroom works best in creating The Blend. The POS material is available for shippers and handlers to share with their retailers.



The Council created a POS card for consumers to make The Blend at home. This is a great communication piece for Supermarket Registered Dietitians to use during tasting event

Website Updates:
The site has been updated with an RD testimonial, new POS material and updated links to published retail trade articles.



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The Topline report week ending 08/09/2015 was sent to the industry on 09/21/2015; click here to access the report online.


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