Hort Innovation continues to invest the mushroom R&D levy in projects to strengthen both the capacity and skills of the industry and the profile of Australia mushrooms. Read about the specific initiatives in the R&D snapshot below. To see how the industry’s marketing levy is being put to use, head to the marketing snapshot.

INDUSTRY UPDATE

After you’ve read about the mushroom industry’s current levy investments and outcomes in this edition of Hortlink, check out Hort Innovation’s mushroom grower page. The grower page remains your one-stop-shop for industry information, including:

  • Important updates regarding the mushroom Strategic Investment Plan (SIP), as available. Developed in close consultation with growers and other industry stakeholders, the SIP is a document outlining the priorities for strategic investment in the industry. It is to be used like a ‘roadmap’ by the mushroom Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) when providing advice to Hort Innovation on potential levy investments.
  • The latest updates regarding the mushroom SIAP, including details on the panel’s recently appointed chair, Michael Worthington, and summaries from all SIAP meetings to date. The SIAP last met in December and is due to meet again in towards the end of March.
  • The 2015/16 mushroom industry annual report, detailing activities from the previous financial year.
  • Grower resources, events and articles of interest to the mushroom industry.

Any questions?

As well as the mushroom grower page, Hort Innovation Relationship Management Lead John Vatikiotis is always available to answer questions on the mushroom program on 0429 022 637 or at john.vatikiotis@horticulture.com.au. For questions relating specifically to the industry’s marketing, contact Hort Innovation Marketing Manager Monique Emmi.

R&D SNAPSHOT

NEW, ONGOING AND COMPLETED PROJECTS FOR THE INDUSTRY

Communication program for the Australian mushroom industry 2016-2019 (MU15001)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning in 2016, this project is delivering effective and timely communications to ensure Australian mushroom growers and other industry stakeholders are kept up-to-date with the latest mushroom R&D and marketing investments, developments and outcomes, and other industry news and information.

What’s the latest update? A number of regular communication channels continue to be produced and maintained by this project, including but not limited to:

  • The quarterly Australian Mushrooms Journal, delivered electronically
  • The monthly Industry Update e-newsletter
  • Industry websites mushrooms.net.auand www.emushrooms.org
  • YouTube videos on R&D investments, to soon be produced.
Communication and education of mushroom nutrition research to health professionals – phase 2 (MU14000)

Status: Ongoing project

What’s it all about? Beginning at the end of 2014, this project collects information about the health and nutrition benefits of mushrooms and uses this to update a range of health professionals – putting them in the best position to advocate for the inclusion of mushrooms in the wider public’s diet.

What’s the latest update? No new milestone report was due in the period since the last edition of Hortlink (Spring 2016). At the time of last reporting, the project was continuing to update health professionals – including dietitians, medical doctors, nurses, dentists, naturopaths – as well as home economists and health media via communication channels including:

  • The ‘health and nutrition’ section of australianmushrooms.com.au, where resources such as fact sheets were being kept up to date with new research
  • The project’s Talking Research e-newsletter
  • A printed or electronic version of a succinct brochure, Just Three a Day For a Healthier Life
  • Presentations, farm tours and cooking demonstrations, which were being given to health professionals, nutrition students and health media around the country.

At the time of last reporting, the project was also continuing to respond to requests for help from dietitians, bloggers, journalists and researchers regarding the role of mushrooms in health as needed.

It had also produced a video on ways to increase calcium and vitamin D in patients’ diets, in collaboration with the University of Sydney and ThinkGP. The video mentions mushrooms as the only non-animal source of vitamin D, and in its first few months was viewed by 320 health professionals and students. It can be viewed here.

A printed resource to be used by health professionals on calcium and vitamin D, focusing on mushrooms, had also been produced and distributed nationally.

At the time of last reporting, the project was also continuing to support relevant events to help promote the inclusion of mushrooms in the diet, including the Dietitians Association of Australia’s Healthy Weight Week, while maintaining a presence at relevant industry conferences.

Other R&D projects of note…
  • Pest and disease management and research services (MU16003), for which Hort Innovation is currently appointing a service provider. The new project will be designed to grow awareness of pests and diseases, their management, and potential impacts on mushroom production. It will include research into these areas and a range of extension and communication efforts to grow knowledge among growers and other industry stakeholders.
  • Food safety and QA risk management (MU16000), which is currently being contracted. This project will build on the foundations of the industry’s existing Food Safety and Quality Assurance Risk Management Service (FSQARMS) program, to provide an effective risk management mechanism at both an individual business and broader industry level.

MARKETING SNAPSHOT

THE LATEST ACTIVITY THAT’S GROWING THE INDUSTRY

Australian Mushrooms events

Consumer events are a fantastic opportunity to get mushroom samples, recipe ideas, health information and more to a receptive audience. In recent months, Australian Mushroom has attended…

  • Newtown Festival, on November 13, 2016, in Sydney, New South Wales. With some 80,000 people in attendance, this event was a great opportunity for mushroom sampling and education. The Australian Mushrooms crew handed out 2900 samples in just six hours, with wok-cooked mushroom noodle stir-fry and Thai mushroom meatballs proving popular with the crowds. There were also keen discussions on the health benefits of adding mushrooms to everyday cooking, and the recipe brochures handed out to the crowd.
  • Taste of Melbourne, from November 10 to 13, 2016, in Melbourne, Victoria. This event boasts world-class chefs, mouth-watering dishes and drinks, live entertainment and a host of artisan producers. At this event, Australian Mushrooms was focused on delivering key messaging to the higher-end customers and food service crowd while they sampled an Aussie mushroom burger and a perfectly cooked portabella mushroom with beetroot relish, cheddar and greens. About 20,000 paying guests attended the festival over four days, and a total of 4200 mushroom-dish samples were handed out.

Festivals

Australian Mushrooms at Newtown Festival (left) and Taste of Melbourne (right)


As part of the industry’s public relations activities, there was also a ‘#mushiesonsourdough’ media event in December 2016. For the event, in New South Wales, eight top-tier media representatives and influencers got hands-on in the kitchen with Brasserie Bread co-founder Michael Klausen and dietitian Lyndi Cohen to find out why mushrooms and sourdough are the perfect match. After a tour of the bakery, and learning about the benefits of eating single-origin wheat sourdough over commercially baked bread, the media crew had a cooking class with Michael and were assisted in plating up their dishes. The event encouraged the uploading of images to social media accounts using the hashtag #mushiesonsourdough. Results in ‘long-lead’ media, such as magazines, will be seen shortly.


Media Event #mushiesonsourdough

The #mushiesonsourdough event


‘Mushies in Summer’

The ‘Mushies in Summer’ program was developed to encourage people to include mushrooms in everyday recipes over the summer period, when mushroom usage typically slows. Using the industry’s existing messaging, ‘Much Healthier, Much Tastier’, the program was overlayed with additional messaging to give consumers a reason to eat mushrooms right now.

To help inspire consumption, digital recipe book Make Summer Much Better with Mushrooms was developed to provide an easy resource for consumers to find tasty and light mushroom recipes. At the beginning of February, there had been over 11,450 downloads of the recipe e-book.

High-reaching social influencers were also engaged to create content and share simple summer usage ideas with their audiences. At the time of writing, there had been 32 pieces of content developed by influencers, with three top influencers including Dani Stevens, Jessica Sepel and Fat Mum Slim having a combined reach of 3.1 million people.

Australian Mushrooms’ own social media channels acted as additional platforms to communicate summer mushroom eating. During the summer campaign, the Facebook page grew by close to 8000 fans between December and January, while 200 new followers were accrued on Instagram.

TV campaign and more

Australian Mushrooms television advertising came back on air this on February 5 and will run until March 25, headlining the latest industry promotion campaign. Supporting activities include shopping centre advertising, in place from February 5 until April 8, plus point-of-sale kits and in-store demonstrations.

  • The mushroom TV burst launched in the second week of popular cooking show My Kitchen Rules being on air (a show drawing over one million nightly viewers). Spots were booked in every market during this week, with ads also appearing during high-rating programs including Married at First Sight, The Project, 800 Words and House Husbands. The ads will be strategically times, so the recipe involved will be appropriate to the time of day. For example, the new Breakfast Omelette ad (watch here) will be screened before midday, while ads for Mushroom Pizza and Spaghetti Bolognese will screen after midday.
  • Shopping centre and major retailer advertising. Out-of-home advertising is in place in major shopping centres as part of the campaign, with digital advertising panels displaying this content (view here). To support this component, a mushroom pizza ad will appear in Coles Magazine. Major supermarkets are also providing further promotional opportunities, with Coles featuring in-store point-of-sale material and Woolworths highlighting mushrooms through the use of aisle ‘fins’ in the mushroom sections of the store.
  • Activity in independent stores. The 400 best-performing IGA and Super IGA stores across the country are also driving the mushroom messaging, with point-of-sale kits including A3 posters, recipe brochures and shelf wobblers used in store during February. One hundred in-store cooking demonstrations were also to be conducted in Super IGA, IGA and high-traffic independent stores in February.
  • Further in-store demos: mushrooms and onions. Teaming up with the onion industry, cooking demonstrations have run throughout the summer period, taking a break over Christmas.
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