Mushroom grower-shippers are doing their part to help consumers by putting out products that can save time in the kitchen.
“We do lots of sliced mushrooms,” said Kevin Donovan, sales manager for Phillips Mushroom Farms, Kennett Square, Pa.
“We have an automatic slicer, weigher and filling machine that runs all day every day,” he said.
As much as 40% of the company’s mushrooms are sold in a sliced format, with the 8-ounce sliced white mushrooms and the 8-ounce sliced baby portabellas the most popular consumer packs.
“It seems that people have gone to more sliced mushrooms than in the past,” he said.
The company ships more sliced baby portabellas and sliced white mushrooms than it does whole mushrooms.
The sliced category also is growing faster than the whole category at Dole Mushrooms, Kennett Square, said director Gary Schroeder.
“Clearly, people are still going toward convenience, even if there’s a recession,” he said. “They’re still willing to pay a little extra for a sliced product.”
Dole now sells more sliced portabellas and sliced baby portabellas than whole ones, he said.
Sliced baby portabellas are the company’s fastest-growing category and have been for years, he said.
The 8-ounce sliced white and sliced baby portabellas are the biggest movers, but white steak cuts also are popular, as are half-inch sliced portabellas.
Sliced mushrooms are a staple at Giorgio Foods Inc., Temple, Pa., said Bill Litvin, vice president, sales and national account manager.
“We offer many options in sliced mushrooms, and we have listened to the customer to produce the sizes they want,” he said.
Those sizes include 4-, 8-, 10- and 16-ounce packages of white mushrooms; 8- and 10-ounce packs of baby portabellas; 6-ounce portabellas; and a 5-ounce package of shiitakes.
“Demand for sliced mushrooms is increasing due to the variety of sizes and versatility of use,” Litvin said.
To-Jo Mushrooms in Avondale, Pa., has shipped sliced mushrooms for years, said Paul Frederic, senior vice president of sales and marketing.
As much as 30% of the company’s mushrooms are sliced, he estimated.
The company does thick, thin and standard cuts and also offers pre-washed mushrooms and dried mushrooms.
The volume of 8-ounce sliced white mushrooms is surpassing volume of 8-ounce whole white mushrooms, Frederic said.
For retailers, the company ships 8- and 10-ounce packages of sliced baby portabellas, a 6-ounce pack of sliced baby portabellas and 5-ounce pack of sliced shitakes.
For foodservice operators who want to cut back on labor costs, the firm ships 5- and 10-pound cartons of sliced white or brown mushrooms, 3- and 5-pound cartons of quarter- and half-inch sliced portabellas and a 3-pound carton of sliced shiitakes.
“There’s no question that sliced is growing and taking a bigger share of our total volume,” Frederic said.
Volume of sliced mushrooms also is growing at Ponderosa Mushrooms & Specialty Foods, Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, said president Joe Salvo.
The company’s 6-ounce sliced king oyster mushrooms are doing very well, Salvo said. They’re also popular in a 6-pound case for foodservice operators.