Archive for the ‘Conferences’ Category

The Blend Was a Hit at the School Nutrition Annual Conference

Over the past year the mushroom industry, food service directors and meat processors have been hard at work hoping to bring The Blend to the forefront. The outcome of these efforts were obvious at this year’s School Nutrition Conference, and Council Representative Kathleen Pries, was there to share all the benefits of blending with knowledge seeking directors.

The energy, excitement and enthusiasm at the SNA ANC in Boston, Massachusetts last week was palpable. School food service directors from across the nation were eager to visit the Mushroom Council booth to learn about fresh mushrooms and blending.

Located in the United Fresh Pavilion, the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to work with other likeminded exhibitors to bring school foodservice directors real solutions to increase fresh produce consumption in schools. The Fresh Produce Pavilion showcased a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables available to schools, as well as highlighted the produce industry’s commitment to helping schools meet the new fruit and vegetable requirements for school lunch/breakfast.  With the new “Smart Snacks in Schools” requirements going into effect, and continuing media attention on healthier school meals, it is more important than ever that the fresh produce industry be fully engaged with schools.

To demonstrate how meatless options can be just as tasty, and how The Blend can enhance school meals, we sampled Spicy Mushroom Meatballs, Mushroom Blended Turkey Breakfast Sausage Patties, and Meatless Portabella Cheesesteaks. Attendees were thrilled to hear student’s favorite meals can be made healthier without losing taste, volume or texture. But we weren’t the only ones showing off blending, three additional companies showed mushroom blended products totaling 11 products on the show floor for school foodservice directors to sample and add to their menu.

The presence of mushroom blending at this year’s School Nutrition Association Conference was especially important given the current debate on regulating nutrition requirements in the school lunch program.  Concepts like The Blend demonstrate that districts can serve healthier versions of foods kids love without sacrificing taste or acceptance.  The acceptance with districts, processors and industry influencers of mushroom blending is a huge opportunity to continue to improve student lunches.

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable week!

In 2013, The Trend Was To Blend!

In 2013, it became very obvious– The Trend Was To Blend!  From blending up a storm at the School Nutrition Conference, to putting The Blend to work at the Produce Marketing Association Foodservice Conference, Council Representative Bart Minor, highlights the top five ways blending was trending in 2013.

CIA Blendability

The idea of blending finely chopped mushrooms with meat is not a complicated concept. When you blend in finely diced mushrooms you are not only reducing the saturated fat and calories*, but adding a serving of vegetables. It is possible to serve healthier versions of your favorite classic meals without sacrificing taste. This simple, yet revolutionary way of serving healthier meals without comprising on flavor is catching on…

PMA Burger

Take a look at the Top 5 Way Blending Was Trending in 2013:

1.  Celebrity Chef, Richard Blais not only menued his delicious Earth & Turf Burger at his Flip Burger Boutique restaurant, but prepared it live on Access Hollywood and The View.

2.  Guest Chef Jehangir Mehta, from Next Iron Chef, wowed the crowds at last month’s “A Feast to Celebrate the Future of Food” event in New York with his blended Portabella-Angus Burger with Enoki Mushroom Fries and Shiitake & Maitake Ketchup.

Future of Food

3.  Jessica Shelley of Cincinnati Public Schools, became one of the first school service directors to serve blended mushroom burgers to her students. Serving mushroom blended burgers allows Jessica to top the burgers with turkey bacon and cheese, creating a more appealing presentation.


4.  Throughout 2013, some of the Mushroom Channel’s favorite food bloggers showed us how blending is done; creating delicious blended recipes for their families. Some of our all time favorites include Baked Spaghetti with Mushrooms by Ingredients, Inc, Minced Chicken and Mushrooms with Lettuce Cups by Chez Us, and Mushroom Meatball Parmigiana Sliders by The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen.

Minced Mushroom and Chicken Cup

5.  Make Room For Mushrooms: Fungi Compete With Meat In Burgers, by NPR’s “The Salt”, explores the emerging trend of blending. Amy Myrdal Miller from the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Bob Okura from the Cheesecake Factory, and Chef Robert Rusan from St. Louis Schools are just some of The Blend  fans who share their thoughts in this article.

Now let’s make blending a continuing trend in 2014!


The Trend to Blend is Bigger in Texas

This past week the Mushroom Council had the opportunity to keep “the blend” trending at the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Annual Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo. Council Representative, Bart Minor, tells us what impressed him the most about this conference.

Sustainability, innovation, partnerships, and weight management were just some of the themes touched on this past weekend at FNCE. But without a doubt, the hottest trend in making meals more flavorful, healthy and kid-friendly was The Blend.

Mushroom Council Booth at FNCE

The Mushroom Council booth drew crowds from every corner of the expo hall, and it’s no wonder why – we were serving up one of our favorite mushroom blended recipes, Mushroom Turkey Burger Bites. Finely chopped and roasted mushrooms blended seamlessly with the ground turkey in this 50/50 burger; adding vegetables, nutrients, moisture, and flavor, while cutting calories and fat. Not surprisingly, FNCE attendees noticed, commenting on how moist and tasty the burgers were, and how they loved the concept of The Blend. Some even said it was their favorite sample at the conference!

Mushroom Council at FNCE

Beyond The Blend, attendees were excited to learn more about how mushrooms grow and the nutritional profile of mushrooms. Once publicized as a “filler food,” mushrooms are now being touted as a superfood. In fact, just last month Registered Dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield helped put mushrooms in the “health spotlight” at our very own Mushrooms & Health Summit.

Outside of the conference hall it quickly became obvious that Houston is a mushroom-lovin’ town! Mushrooms adorned almost every menu at local restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Backstreet Café had a seasonal mushroom menu featuring Pan Roasted Wild Mushrooms, Mushroom Gratin, Portabella Mushroom Fries, Mushroom Polenta and Mushroom Taquitos. Artista restaurant had a savory Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding, while Pass & Provisions served up an appetizing Mushroom Truffle Pizza. There was even a Shiitake Mushroom cocktail at Sparrow Bar + Cookshop.

Mushroom Council - Backstreet Cafe

The Mushroom Council was excited to once again showcase The Blend concept to dietitians and health professionals at FNCE, as well as work hand-in-hand with JTM to raise the profile of mushroom blended meat products in schools. Thanks again to everyone who came to our booth; we hope to see you next year.


Mushrooms and Health Summit

On September 9-10th the Mushroom Council held its very first Mushrooms & Health Summit in Washington D.C. Mushroom Council representative, Bart Minor, was at the two day event which boasted mushroom experts from leading scientific institutions, nutrition professionals, and a fascinating mock growing room that captured the attention of every single attendee.

Mushroom Summit Presentations

I can’t think of a better way to bring mushrooms out of the dark and into the health spotlight than at our very own Mushrooms & Health Summit. In a room full of scientists, doctors, nutrition professionals, and even foodies, it became evident that mushrooms are something we should be excited about!

I sat there fascinated by all of the emerging research; presentations on everything from weight management and immunity, to vitamin D and umami. Leading scientists and researchers are discovering new facts about mushrooms and what makes them a unique dietary component every day.

The mushroom lunch was a captivating presentation in itself. Culinary experts from the CIA showcased mushroom blendability by demonstrating their sensory sampling panel, and highlighting the research that has come out of these highly successful trials. It should be no surprise the studies found consumers generally like mushrooms as a partial substitution for ground meat because mushrooms enhance the aroma, flavor, and texture of the finished dish.

Mushroom Summit Blendability Sampling

The mock growing room was by far the star of the summit. With a huge display that showcased all commercially grow varieties, summit attendees we both surprised and delighted to see exactly how fresh mushrooms are grown in the US.

Mushroom Summit Growing Room

Since 2005, the mushroom industry has dedicated resources to better understand the nutrition properties and health benefits of mushrooms, and I was honored to see all of these resources come together to shed some light on the humble mushroom.

Blending is Trending at the School Nutrition Conference

We all know finely chopped mushrooms blend well into meatballs, hamburgers, tacos, and many other classic ground meat entrees that students love. But did you know they can make a meal healthier and make portion sizes larger? Mushroom Council representative, Kathleen Preis, headed to the School Nutrition Association’s Annual National Conference this month to tell school foodservice directors all about the benefits of The Blend.

What a whirl wind of activity the Mushroom Council enjoyed last week at SNA ANC 2013 in Kansas City. The Annual National Conference is the largest gathering of school nutrition stakeholders in the world. The conference allows a diverse cross section of individuals from across the country to come together for one purpose – continuing the national effort to provide healthier food for school children.

SNA ANC13 Mushroom Samples

Positioned in the heart of Produce Row, the Mushroom Council was able to talk with hundreds of school nutrition directors, managers and chefs. We were thrilled to share in the unique excitement and enthusiasm those working in school nutrition possess.

At the Mushroom Council booth we demonstrated how The Blend  can enhance school meals by sampling Fiesta Mushroom Taco Salad, Shroom’n Turkey Meatloaf and Meaty Mushroom Marinara to the hungry attendees. We were delighted to hear directly from attendees that mushroom blending is a solution that students will enjoy while increasing the nutritious food options available to students.

Hickman Mills Mushroom Ladies

To wrap up a successful conference experience, we enjoyed an energetic mushroom blending culinary demonstration from local school kitchen managers Barb Scott and Aaron Woods. Not only did they do a wonderful job whipping up their Mushroom Marinara and Portabella Panini on stage, Barb and Aaron used their star power to secure several interviews and specials on various Kansas City news channels.

Panini Sandwich Served at ANC 13

Fox News Interview at SNA ANC13

We at the Mushroom Council are tremendously lucky to be included in the groundbreaking group of individuals and organizations that form the School Nutrition Association. We would like to thank everyone at the conference for a truly memorable and inspiring week!