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Pundit’s Mailbag – 
Vitamin D Mushrooms And Mushroom Blending
How Changing The Product, And Expanding Usage Options, Is Crucial;
If We Want To Boost Consumption
Then We Have To Market It!

Our piece, Branding And In-Store Marketing: Perfect Together… St. Joseph’s Superstar Professor John Stanton To Present At London Produce Show And Conference, brought many letters including this one from the man who represents mushrooms, the marketing of which was the subject of much of the discussion.

As always, love the Perishable Pundit, especially when combined with my other favorite candid friend John Stanton! Just a quick note to say, thanks for the poke… I had several folks forward the article and it gave me a chance to say, ‘THAT’S what I’ve been TALKIN’ about!!’ AND, to let them know we are not dead yet… with the revamped nutrition labels still to be announced and then implemented, when vitamin D, for the first time EVER, will become a mandatory listing.

They will get one last bite at this apple, one more chance to make a difference, to lay claim to this ‘nutrient of concern’.  As my new favorite line from a movie (The Theory of Everything) states….’As long as there is life, there is hope.’

— Bart Minor, MBA
Mushroom Council
San Jose, California

The industry always cries that it wants to increase consumption, but almost all the efforts to do so focus on promoting the produce that happens to be in the supply chain. The Mushroom Council has really gone the extra mile to not just promote mushrooms, but to change mushrooms to make them more popular.

The idea of adding Vitamin D is one important element of this effort; the other is to use mushrooms as a blend with ground beef in hamburgers and meatloaf.

Right now they are working with the Better Burger Project. See how it works:

It is a really simple project geared for chefs:

Calling all chefs! The James Beard Foundation is inviting restaurants and chefs all across the country to participate in the Better Burger Project™ by featuring a “Better Burger” on their menus.

The Better Burger Project is an in-restaurant menu promotion that strives to improve the burger by blending ground meat with finely chopped mushrooms, creating a more delicious, healthy, and sustainable burger.

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up here!
2. Create your “Better Burger,” blending at least 25-percent fresh, cultivated ground mushrooms into your burger patty. Learn more about the blend here.
3. Menu the dish throughout the promotion period, from Memorial Day through July 31, 2015 — and beyond if you choose!
4. Ask your customers to vote on Instagram by sharing your “Better Burger,” posting with #BetterBurgerProject

 After the promotion concludes on July 31, 2015, the five (5) chefs with the most Instagram uploads by consumers will win a trip to New York City in October 2015 to cook their “Better Burgers” at the official welcome reception for the annual JBF Food Conference at the historic James Beard House. We’ll be monitoring social media participation during the promotion and posting weekly updates to our blog and on, so be sure to check back often. (Read the official contest rules here.)

Learn more about participating in the Better Burger Project™.

Whether retail or foodservice, it is a misguided dream to think promoting inconsistent produce will by itself move the needle on consumption. But producing better products that create compelling reasons for consumers to eat them has every chance in the world of changing eating habits.

Many thanks to Bart Minor for reminding us of these important efforts.

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