The Mushroom Council's new campaign focuses on the ways that mushrooms address current concerns, especially when it comes to food budgets.
Reading the room – or the mushroom, as it may be – the National Mushroom Council is launching a new promotion touting the benefits and applications of budget-friendly mushrooms during a period of high food inflation. The campaign, which uses the slogan “Mushrooms are the Answer,” showcases ways that mushrooms offer a variety of solutions for meal planning.
Released during National Mushroom Month in September, the multimedia program includes a digital hub with recipes, usage tips, nutrition information and sustainability facts. In addition to providing a wealth of information on mushrooms, the National Mushroom Council has also created promotional giveaways, digital assets and digital/social media ads, and is teaming up with registered dietitians and social media influencers to share the ways that mushrooms can help extend grocery budgets. Influencers have developed such recipes as a kids’ Bento Box mushroom pasta, a family-friendly mushroom grilled cheese and a weeknight mushroom chicken pot pie.
“Our intent with ‘Mushrooms are the Answer’ is to showcase how mushrooms can help consumers extend meat and other ingredients, and keep favorite meals on the menu in these inflationary times,” said Bart Minor, president and CEO of the Lee’s Summit, Mo.-based Mushroom Council. “Mushrooms are the great meal extender, whether it’s blending with meat for making more burgers with this week’s ground beef purchase, bulking up a breakfast omelet or maximizing a comforting dish like beef stroganoff.”
The campaign comes at a time when 93% of consumers cite rising food prices as a concern, according to Anne-Marie Roerink, principal at San Antonio-based 210 Analytics. “This is where mushrooms come in,” Roerink observed. “Meat inflation started before other categories due to the issues related to COVID at the meat-processing plants, and prices have been rising for three years running. Mushrooms, on the other hand, have seen some price increases, but inflation has been below that of total vegetables.”
Roerink pointed out that many food retailers have been merchandising mushrooms as a meal-extending solution. “After doing 30-plus store tours all over the U.S. and the Netherlands in recent weeks, I found many examples of retailers merchandising mushrooms in the meat department, both in the self-service case and the full-service counter,” she noted. “Some were stuffed with meat, but others were vegetarian offerings. Likewise, we see consumers purchasing mix-and-match kebabs with meat and veggies during grilling season.”
Earlier this summer, the Mushroom Council teamed up with Food Network on a blended burger project, sharing how to stretch food dollars and create interesting new flavor experiences by mixing finely chopped mushrooms and ground meat.