Shipping Reports

Monthly Shipping Report | September 2015

September 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 $0.005 to $0.0055 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).
  • The September Bulletin from the Mushrooms and Health Global Initiative can be found here. In this issue read about:
    • How the South African Mushroom Farmers Association is making nutrition fun with engaging infographics for health professionals, and is conducting in-store promotions to the trade.
    • How the Spanish Mushroom Growers Association continues its sponsorship of nutrition and health conferences.
    • About the analysis of vitamin D levels in regular retail mushrooms and those specifically labelled ‘Vitamin D Mushrooms’ now appears in the Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) database. This analysis is particularly important to the Australian mushroom industry because mushrooms are now officially recognized as a significant source of vitamin D.
    • Also includes an online survey on how to increase the reach of the newsletter and make the information more useful to you.


First Handler Report June 2015

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To see current charts click here.



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  • Shape Magazine called mushrooms “a perfect food” and “amazingly versatile” in an article appearing online and in print. Three chefs, including Linton Hopkins, provided their most creative uses for mushrooms, with one recipe focusing on the blend for a Bolognese sauce.
  • To promote the  Burger Project, the council compiled chef assets (recipes, photos) and developed Chef of The Week posts on social media. Once the five winners were chosen on 7/31, the council initiated its media strategy which included the creation of a press release announcing the winners, distributing a survey to all chef participants, crafting a media list and pitching local and national media with the winning recipes and chefs. Outreach efforts resulted in a morning segment on Indianapolis station WISH-TV and a chef Q&A with the National Restaurant Association.
  • The Mushroom Channel engaged with nine food service and Better Burger Project partners including Carls Jr., Veal Made Easy, Beef Check Off, QuaffON!, Belly Acres, 20 Highland Tavern, Whole Foods, The Ainsworth and Kraft Foods.
  • Promoted the Veal Made Easy Summer Grilling contest through a series of four Instagram videos and Facebook content.


July 2015 Traffic

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On The Horizon

  • September Mushroom Month activities, including:
    • Chicago-based chef, Billy Parisi, created a three-minute video focused on mushroom cooking basics, as well as six :15 Instagram videos for social media— all to be promoted throughout September on Mushroom Channel sites as well as Billy’s sites
    • Partnership with YouTube cooking show, Tasted, to create a four-episode video series
    • Media pitching to focus on such topics as mushroom health benefits, mushroom versatility, mushroom recipes, and the blend, as well as weaving in Better Burger Project details and winners where applicable
  • Chef Dan Nichols from QuaffON! in Bloomington, Indiana to be featured on WISH-TV’s morning segment (Indy Style) on 9/8, demonstrating the winning blend burger and discussing the Burger Project.



As summer comes to a close, mushrooms remain hot on menus.

James Beard and The Burger Project

foodservice_the-federal-burgerWe continue to see the results of the James Beard promotion where chefs around the country blended meat and mushrooms and have kept their burgers on the menu. The Mushroom Council partnership with the James Beard Foundation challenged chefs to transform their burgers by blending at least 25% mushrooms with meat to create a delicious and healthy burger. More than 220 chefs across the country participated in the campaign by adding Blend burgers to their menus from Memorial Day through July 31st. Chefs included TV personalities, Top Chefs, Iron Chefs, luxury hotels, high end steakhouses, burger joints, food trucks, retailers and colleges.

The five chefs with the most Instagrams from consumers include: Chef Dan Nichols from Quaff ON from Bloomington; Chef Carolyn Manning from Blue Southern Comfort Food in Shreveport; Chef Rob Ray from Bell Acres in Memphis; Chef Lorin Watada from Bachi Burger in Los Angeles; and Chefs Kiel Campbell and Fiore Moletz from Burgh’ers Restaurant in Harmony, PA.

All chefs will travel to New York City where they will serve their burgers at the official welcome reception of the 2015 JBF Food Conference, taking place Sunday, October 18, at the historic James Beard House.

Winning Chef Dan Nichols from Quaff ON! commented on the Blend and his participation in the campaign, “After reading about the campaign, the idea of creating a blended burger intrigued me, so I started testing various recipes. Being in the top five throughout the project came as a surprise to me. Having the opportunity to go to the James Beard House and prepare food will have a profound impact on me as a chef.

The Blend at PMA: Another Winner

Chef Domenica Catelli who participated in the summer campaign took home first place at the annual Produce Marketing Association’s Foodservice Conference and Expo in Monterey, California on Saturday July, 25th with her Ultimate Burger 2.0. Chef Domenica’s restaurant Catelli’s in Sonoma, California has been featuring the upgraded Blend burger since Memorial Day 2015.

The response I have received by my restaurant guests to the Ultimate Burger 2.0 has been incredible,” commented winning Chef Domenica “Even my regular, meat-loving customers who previously ordered the all-beef burger tell me the new Blended burger is the best, juiciest burger they have ever had. The challenge was in providing 50% mushroom to meat mix and to get the texture and flavor perfect. By my standards, that has been achieved.

Colleges and Universities:

With colleges and universities starting to think about students coming back to school, campuses are looking for more Blend recipes and mushroom events. Presently we are preparing to be on the Notre Dame University campus for a Mushroom Mania event. We are also planning events at a major Midwest university and one in the Southwest.

Creating Awareness of The Blend:
The Council spoke at two major conferences this month. The first presentation was about the new clean label legislation and how The Blend fits perfectly. That presentation was made to a number of chains and colleges, and we also held a Better Burger Bash at one of the receptions. The other was at Flavor Quality and the American Menu at CIA where, again, the Council spoke about the Blend and showcased a well-received turkey burger and a number of Blended breakfast recipes including a scratch-made sausage and a commercialized Portabella-Bacon link sausage.



  • A school meat processor reported that they sold over 330,000 pounds of mushroom and beef burgers commercially during the school year 2014/2015. They anticipate this increasing tremendously in the upcoming school year. They are currently delivering the burger through 32 distributors and to 9 direct ships. This is added to the 8 trucks of IQF mushrooms ordered through the USDA food program.
  • Mushroom Council is working with the Cypress Fairbanks school district outside of Houston to test central kitchen blending with the direct deliver IQF diced mushrooms. Several cases of IQF mushrooms have been shipped and the district chef is creating blended taco, marinara and chicken recipes. The district anticipates testing with students later this school year.
  • The Council is working with the University of Montana to develop blend burger prototypes which blend IQF mushrooms with Montana beef and Montana lentils. They expect to begin testing of the burgers with students later in the year.
  • The new Farm to School Mushroom of the Month kit was shared with state farm to school coordinators before the start of the school year to encourage districts to feature mushrooms as the harvest of the month.
  • 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.
  • Purchases of fresh mushrooms purchased through the Department of Defense fresh fruit and vegetable program increased nearly 50% over last year’s purchases totaling over 65,000 pounds of fresh mushrooms delivered to schools for the school year 2014/2015.
  • All recipes on are currently being updated to meet changing meal pattern requirements. You can view the updated recipes and resources here.

schools_fnce-invteRetail – Supermarket RD

  • The Council is working with Reasor’s RD to demo The Blend and champion the blend with their deli/foodservice department. Reasor’s RD is distributing Blend recipe cards to shoppers during promotions.
  • The Council is planning a RD influencer dinner at FNCE in Nashville October 4th. Over 30 RDs (media, blogger, retail, foodservice) will be attending. Retailers represented include HEB, Mariano’s, Ingles, King Soopers, Weis, Big Y, and Kroger.
  • The Council provided 3 mushroom recipes to Kroger’s RD to include in Kroger’s pharmacy inserts – reach of 700,000+ shoppers.

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.

The Council is working with Lindsey Ince, their Registered Dietitian to demo The Blend and champion The Blend with their deli/foodservice department. The Council is securing a meeting with the decision makers.

Redners-logoThe Redner’s Warehouse Market – Meredith McGrath, Redner’s Corporate Dietitian gave The Council a testimonial, which is also posted on the MushromsAtRetail website. Her testimonial: “I started using The Blend almost two years ago, so I jumped on the opportunity to share this trend with my customers. Our team of TasteStation ambassadors spent a weekend cooking and teaching our customers the blend and the results were outstanding. Not only did sales increase on mushrooms and meat, we made many new friends by showing them a quick, tasty way to add nutrition to their family meals.”

marianos-logoThe Council is working with Peggy Balboa, Registered Dietitian for Mariano’s. Mariano’s is partnering with the University of Illinois at Chicago through a grant from Produce for Better Health for grocery tours. Students will be given a Blend information packet with The Better-For-You Blend sell sheet as one of the items included. Peggy is actively promoting The Blend at Mariano’s.

Retail_IGA-logoIndependent Grocers Alliance created a health and wellness Better Choices microsite. Their Recipes and How-Tos page features “Cooking with Mushrooms for Fruits and Veggies-More Maters Month. The link goes back to the Mushrooms on The Menu recipe page.




The Council has contacted Stater Brothers, Vons and several other retailers to introduce Blend items in their stores.


The Veal Mushroom Summer Grilling Sweepstakes promotion generated 165,254 entries!

The promotion ended September 4th. Laura, account manager for Veal, had the following to say: “The high response reinforced consumer engagement which was largely due to the social media outreach done by both the Checkoff and Mushroom Council. We believe the partnership with the Mushroom Council overall was very successful and hope you agree.

Below are the results from the Council’s social media to amplify the promotion:

  • Veal Contest” Eblast Stats:
    • 3,536 Recipients
    • 27.3% open rate (above industry average of 23.3%)
    • 8.6% click through rate (above industry average of 3.4%)
  • “Veal Contest” Instagram Videos
    • All four videos received a total of 74 likes and 4 comments
    • Note: Impression & view data is not available for Instagram
  • “Veal Contest” Amplification posts to our page
    • Six Facebook Posts (here, here, here, here, here and here)
    • Total impressions from all posts: 6,763
    • Total likes on all posts: 102
  • “Veal Facebook Contest” (on our own page)
    • Two Facebook Posts (here and here)
    • Total shares on both posts (means of entry): 1,123
    • Total impressions from both posts: 87,797
    • Total likes on both posts:4,412
  • Mushrooms and Veal Pinterest Board
    • 4,600 consumers follow the board
    • Has a total of 6 pins feature mushrooms and veal blends

aeb-logoThe Council created an Infographic that will be shared through social media from both the American Egg Board and The Council. Smaller images will be used for multiple Twitter posts (see images below). A social media plan is underway with most of the activity taking place in September for Mushroom Month. (click the link to view the Infographic to size). A recap of results will be in next month’s report.


Communication Updates:

Ron Pelger from The Produce News wrote an article titled, “In the Trenches Mushroom Merchandising from Past to Present.” The article features mushroom sales, merchandising, and The Blend. Click the link to the full article. Go to page 5.


Trade Media

Council Celebrates Mushroom Month – The Packer
Mushroom Council Announces September Mushroom Month – AndNowUKnow



Retail Data 08/09/2015

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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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