Mushroom marketers play nutrition card

10/10/2011 11:31:00 AM
Fred Wilkinson

It’s not just a council push, said Joe Caldwell, council chairman and vice president of Watsonville, Calif.-based Monterey Mushrooms Inc.

“All of the producers increased their contribution to the City of Hope,” Caldwell said. “There are currently several research projects going on at the City of Hope funded by the Mushroom Council.”

One is a clinical trial specifically for breast cancer research, and it’s in the stage of clinical testing on people.

In October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, pink mushroom tills help promote sales and strengthen customer relations by highlighting an issue important to consumers.

It will be the third year of the campaign.

In the program’s initial year, the 2009 ‘Go Pink’ promotion resulted in the largest movement of mushrooms for any time period, during which pounds sold increased by 12.3% and sales dollars increased by 6.7% compared to the previous month, according to the council. That same period in 2010, sales grew an additional 1.3% in volume and 2.4% in dollars.

With the third-annual “Go Pink” promotion, the Mushroom Council will provide $50,000 to support the City of Hope’s research, totalling more than $700,000 dollars donated by the council since 2002.

The multi-pronged health message is getting through, said James Sweatt, sales director at Gonzales, Texas-based Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms Inc.

“The council has had several training sessions for salespeople on how to sell mushrooms,” he said. “One of the things they’ve come up with is instead of using mushrooms as a substitute, use them for portion control. Instead of eating a 10- or 12-ounce steak, eat an 8-ounce steak with mushrooms.”


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