Mushroom Council Expands The Blend Into Retail Segment With Pilot Programs

San Jose, CA – The Mushroom Council’s successful introduction of The Blend into foodservice and school lunch programs is expanding into the retail segment with pilot programs before rolling out nationally. The Blend is mixing finely diced mushrooms mixed seamlessly with proteins such as beef, turkey, lamb or pork to make hamburgers, meatloaf and meatballs, for example. Retailers can use or modify these recipe concepts to introduce healthier versions of iconic meals in foodservice, deli and meat departments. Consumers enjoy their favorite foods while reducing their intake of fats, sodium, cholesterol and calories while adding a portion of produce to their meals. Initial research indicates reduced product costs, great consumer receptivity and increased sales.

“The Blend fits all the criteria consumers are looking for at retail,” explains Bart Minor, president of the Mushroom Council. “Customers shop for convenient, on-trend, healthy and flavorful dishes to feed their families. Consumers are familiar with Blend products because they’ve tasted it at restaurants in the foodservice industry. The Blend at retail is the natural progression to meet consumer demand.”

The retail deli, foodservice and meat departments can offer The Blend as a healthy, value-added product offering to their customers. It has great culinary appeal. Retailers can benefit by utilizing mushrooms from the produce department to blend into meat-based products, thus reducing shrink. Retailers that tested The Blend had a sales increase in mushrooms, ground meat and other items.

“With grilling season fast approaching, it is an ideal time for retailers to introduce Blend products to their customers, explains Bart Minor, president of the Mushroom Council. “The Blended Turkey with Avocado Mushroom Burger (shown) blends mushrooms with ground turkey for a healthier alternative to the traditional hamburger.”

The Mushroom Council is working with other key retailers across the country to expand The Blend program. The Council is supporting retailers promoting The Blend with marketing development, point-of-sales literature, Registered Dietitian integration, in-store consumer communications and product demo support.

“The Blend has helped increase mushroom and meat sales as well as provided a convenient, healthy solution to consuming meat products,” states Minor. “With grilling season fast approaching, it is an ideal time for retailers to develop Blend promotions to engage consumers looking for healthier food alternatives, such as ground beef or turkey blended with mushrooms for a healthier version of a traditional hamburger.”

The Mushroom Council is interested in expanding its network of retailers introducing The Blend. All retailers interested in benefiting from The Blend program and participating in a Blend pilot can visit the new website for further information, resources and contact information.

About The Mushroom Council:

The Mushroom Council is composed of fresh market producers or importers who average more than 500,000 pounds of mushrooms produced or imported annually. The mushroom program is authorized by the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990 and is administered by the Mushroom Council under the supervision of the Agricultural Marketing Service. Research and promotion programs help to expand, maintain and develop markets for individual agricultural commodities in the United States and abroad. These industry self-help programs are requested and funded by the industry groups that they serve.

Source: The Mushroom Council