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Health gets headlines: everyday recipes get on family's plates.

These days, health news is hard news. Research gets headlines and editors are interested in sharing healthy eating tips with their readers. Even if the average American isn't eating healthier, they are increasingly interested in what's good for them. For example, Mushroom Council-funded research has appeared in major health outlets like Men's Health, Health and Prevention and in general-interest publications like Quick & Simple and Woman's Day. Even newspapers are interested in health news and tips; food editors are increasingly focused on nutrition and it's uncommon to find food articles without a health angle. Mushrooms seem to be popular with this new breed of health-conscious foodies because they're delicious, nutritious and an easy addition to almost any everyday meal.

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In addition, easy, everyday, every way recipes interest editors and consumers. So when media outreach resumed in 2006, the Mushroom Council bundled nutrition messaging with quick, easy recipes to educate food writers about mushrooms' nutritional value and health benefits. The Council emphasized that mushrooms are so simple to cook, encouraged people to "make it with mushrooms" and armed editors with tips to help teach their readers the easy 1-2-3-saute method. Recipes were intended to be new takes on classic favorites, like "Portabella Skins" rather than potato skins, wraps (burritos), quesadillas and macaroni and cheese with mushrooms, so even inexperienced cooks felt comfortable cooking with mushrooms.

Articles published in 2007 are starting to reflect that editors are getting it, and telling their readers!

* Recipes don't even have to be healthy to deliver mushroom health messages. The Council sent Mary Theresa Biebel of The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader recipes for various types of macaroni 'n' cheese with mushrooms, along with health information and she enthusiastically wrote: "Just tell me a vegetable--or a fungus--is even more healthful than I suspected, and you're guaranteed to get my attention." The Mushroom Council recently did just that, with a letter explaining White button mushrooms have an antioxidant capacity similar to tomatoes, zucchini and carrots, while Brown mushrooms are comparable to green beans, red peppers and broccoli. (The Wilkes-Barre Times Leader, August 29, 2007). So far, the macaroni n' cheese outreach has generated over 24 million impressions.

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* Mushrooms joined in the Cinco de Mayo celebration in May 2007 with a recipe for "Quesadillas de Hongos," or "Mushroom Quesadillas" (The Canton Repository, May 2, 2007). During targeted Cinco de Mayo outreach, the quesadillas recipe generated more than 6.5 million impressions. Outreach in the summer months also focused on mushrooms as a "grilling hero," able to take the heat like meat, but healthier.

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* Mushroom lovers celebrated the Super Bowl and tailgating with "Portabella Skins," a new, healthier take on potato skins. The recipe was featured in multiple media outlets, including a Hungry Girl e-newsletter, a widely read online dieting resource. Hungry Girl editor "Lisa L." loved the recipe right away: "We will definitely use it in the future--YUM!!! They look AWESOME!" The power period as a whole generated over 52 million impressions for mushrooms.

* For young women, Health magazine illustrates easy ways to build more vitamin D into their diet and mushrooms are prominently displayed.

* Thanks to the Council's research, the primarily male readership of Men's Health magazine now has immunity-boosting mushrooms on their radar.

* Solid research by the City of Hope plus a satisfying recipe help publications like Quick & Simple give moms the tools to create nutritious meals their families will eat.

Even mushrooms growers enjoyed the easy, comfort food recipes, like Carla Blackwell McKinney of C. J. Mushroom Co. who reports that Council members enjoyed sampling Mushroom 'n' Beer Macaroni 'n' Cheese, a recipe developed for media outreach, at a regional Council meeting in September. "I didn't talk to anyone who didn't like it--everyone thought it was delicious," she said.

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RELATED ARTICLE: Global Health PR Increasing Mushroom Consumption

During the 17th North American Mushroom Conference in March 2004, Mushroom Council President Bart Minor and Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA) President Greg Seymour called a meeting to discuss worldwide cooperation in marketing mushrooms. Since then the Council and AMGA as well as Mushrooms Canada have come together to share information and the cost of supporting nutrition research, research integral to creating the unique selling proposition hidden within this valuable food. Other mushroom growing/marketing organizations in Europe, China and Korea have also been contacted and have expressed interest in joining this global initiative, modeled after the successful soy and nut industry examples (both commodities now have FDA approved health claims).

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With health as a key driver to position mushrooms as the ultimate superfood, eaten any way, everyday, the Mushrooms and Health Global PR Initiative provides the credible and scientific underpinning of the efforts undertaken by each country.

The key components of the initiative include a thorough review and evaluation of the state of the science on mushrooms and health for publication in a peer-reviewed journal, a sustainable system to keep this document current; and the identification of eminent scientists to lend credibility to the initiative effort and provide expertise in outreach efforts.
COPYRIGHT 2007 American Mushroom Institute
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:produce marketing
Publication:Mushroom News
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:846
Previous Article:Making mushrooms essential: reaching more folks, more often.
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