Reasor’s Dietitian Wins the Mushroom Council’s Retail Blenditarian Recipe Contest

Heather Steele, RD, LD, a retail dietitian at Reasor’s, an Oklahoma based grocery store chain, won top prize for her “Chicken Parm Blended Burger” as part of The Mushroom Council’s Retail RD Blenditarian Recipe Contest. The contest held for members of the Retail Dietitan’s Business Alliance (RDBA) submitted recipes based on “The Blend,” a technique that combines mushrooms with meat as a way to increase the servings of vegetables in a dish and extend portions. It also is a way to lower calories, saturated fat and sodium, and eat more sustainably. Steele’s “Chicken Parm Blended Burger” marries her love of chicken Parmesan and her husband’s burger cravings. According to Steele, the nutrition profile gets the RD stamp of approval and she adds, “I love that ‘The Blend’ brings a healthy twist to a dish without sacrificing flavor.”


The Mushroom Council awarded Steele a $1,000 travel stipend to attend a professional conference and her “Chicken Parm Blended Burger” will be featured at the “What’s In-Store” event taking place October 21 at the Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo 2017 (FNCE).  FNCE is the premier trade show for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.


RDBA Blenditarian Recipe Contest runners up include:

  • Susan Coe, MPH, RD, LMNT, Hy-Vee, for her Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Turkey Bowl;
  • Sara Kelly, RD, LD, CSG, Hy-Vee, for her Sweet Sesame Chicken Meatballs;
  • Tina Miller, MS RDN, Meijer, for her Favorite Chili Blend;
  • Brittany Nikolich, RDN, CD, Skogen’s Festival Foods, for her Turkey Blend Kofta; with Roasted Spiced Veggies and Yogurt Sauce; and
  • Cierra Robbins, RD, LDN, CPT, ShopRite, for her Blended Gyro Sliders


“I love that ‘The Blend’ is easy is for anyone to incorporate into a meal they already make at home,” says Steele. “To help Reasor’s customers get that extra serving of vegetables, I always discuss ‘The Blend’ and now I’m also passing out my winning recipe. Reasor’s plans to feature all the ingredients along with the recipe to simultaneously inspire shoppers and increase sales.”

Click here to download the full press release.


3rd Veal Summer Grilling Promotion Launches

San Jose, CA & Centennial, CO (June 1, 2017) – The Beef Checkoff and the Mushroom Council team up for a third Veal Mushroom Summer Grilling Promotion.  A new Veal Mushroom Blend Sliders recipe will be introduced through labels placed on specially marked packages of veal.  The promotion will be supported with a consumer sweepstakes featuring a $500 grand prize in free groceries. Last year’s sweepstakes generated over 260,000 entries. This year is anticipated to generate even more consumer and retailer participation. The promotion runs from June 5 through September 5, 2017.


“Our partnership with the Beef Checkoff on the veal summer grilling promotion is a great way to promote veal and The Blend. It’s an exciting opportunity for meat and produce departments to cross-promote in two perimeter departments. The promotion was so successful the past two years that the Beef Checkoff, Mushroom Council and retailers were eager for another promotion again this year,” explains Bart Minor, president of the Mushroom Council.

Click here to download the full Press Release.

Wait, there’s mushrooms in this?

This article first appeared in Produce Retailer, April 2017

The Blend swaps protein for incremental sales

In The Blend, mushrooms take a back seat to other flavors, and that’s kind of the point. Even people who say they don’t like mushrooms tend to like recipes prepared with The Blend, which is the Mushroom Council’s promotion that swaps finely diced mushrooms for a portion — or all — of the protein in many familiar dishes like meatloaf, tacos, chili and burgers.

“That’s one of the things we find … we’ll meet someone who works in a department and says ‘Oh, I’m not a big fan of mushrooms,’ and they try this and love it,” says Steven Muro, president of Fusion Marketing, who handles The Blend’s retail outreach on behalf of the San Jose-based council.

The council introduced The Blend about three years ago, Muro says. At first, retail wasn’t a primary target. “The focus of the council over the last three years has predominantly been at foodservice, schools and universities,” he says. “Now the strategy is to slightly shift into retail.” Muro says he started piloting programs with retailers about 18 months ago, with promising results.

Produce Department has 60 Percent Sales Increase from Launch of The Blend

This article first appeared on The Packer, May 16, 2017

Doc's Food Stores - Blended Burger Patties

Doc’s Food Stores Promoted Fresh Mushrooms Across Deli, Meat and Produce Departments featuring the Mushroom Council’s Blend model. Their produce department had a 60 percent sales increase; their meat department had a 12 percent increase in hamburger patty sales (Blend burgers represented 8 percent of sales); and the deli department had a 10 percent increase in meatloaf lunch and dinner sales when switching to Blend meatloaf.

Doc’s Food Stores, which operates as Country Mart, JB’s Market and Apple Market, launched the Mushroom Council’s successful Blend model in their deli, meat and produce departments at all their retail stores and had sales gains in all three departments. The Blend is a method of mixing finely diced mushrooms into proteins such as beef, turkey, lamb or pork to make hamburgers, meatloaf, meatballs, tacos and chili. The Blend enables consumers to enjoy their favorite foods while reducing their intake of fats, sodium, cholesterol, and calories, while adding a portion of produce.

The results of The Blend promotion indicate that people were encouraged to try The Blend and make it at home. The produce department had a 60 percent sales increase in fresh mushrooms. The meat department saw an increase of 12 percent in hamburger patty sales. Blended burgers represented over eight percent of all patties sold. A 10 percent increase in meatloaf lunch and dinner sales in the deli department occurred when switching over to Blend meatloaf.


“We are excited about the sales results of The Blend launch at our stores. Our customers really liked our Blend meatloaf and patties so we’ve decided to keep these items as part of our everyday product offerings,” explains Danny Williams, Director of Produce Marketing for Doc’s Food Stores in Bixby, OK.


Click here to download the full Press Release.

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