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Marketing spotlight 2021/22

Publication date: 4 November 2022

Getting more Aussies to add the Mighty Mushie to their meals

Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the mushroom marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consideration. Here's a quick look at some of the activities and achievements in 2021/22.

In 2021/22, the objective of the Australian Mushrooms marketing program was to inspire consumers to consider and use mushrooms more often. Based on consumer data that Australians’ eating habits post-COVID are leaning towards cooking at home, consuming less meat and focusing on nutrition, the 2021/22 brand strategy was focused on pitching mushrooms as an everyday, healthy, essential ingredient for everyone.

Driving top-of-mind awareness

In 2021/22, the mushroom marketing program drove consumer awareness using the recently developed ‘Add the Mighty Mushie’ campaign. The hero ‘pan flip’ creative was run across an online video (catch-up television), ‘out of home’ large format panels, digital displays (including retail online shopping channels), and print for retailer magazines.

New mushroom recipe content was shot with contemporary everyday dishes (such as burgers, tacos, and san choy bao). It was showcased on static and digital retail panels, social media, and the Australian Mushrooms website.

The campaign was evaluated on creative performance, reach and recall measures. The evaluation found that:

  • The creative content is working and driving the right messages.
  • Video, radio and ‘out of home’ achieved strong above benchmark scores across Captivate, Connect and Compel measures.
  • Advertisements are captivating and vividly convey taste, health and versatility.
  • Advertising connects strongly to the brand, with Australian Mushrooms having 90 to 93 per cent brand integration.
  • The messaging is compelling, evoking the correct associations and encouraging people to incorporate mushrooms into everyday cooking.
  • The campaign is easy to understand, believable, informative, and enjoyable.
  • The media buy was perceived as cost-efficient.

Despite positive creative results, the campaign recall was low against current norms. To improve the campaign in the future, the focus will be to increase campaign reach and recall by considering the right channel mixture to optimise investment.

This strategy is being supported by strategic public relations activity. One example is the highly successful campaign with celebrity Chef Adam Liaw, appearing on Weekend Sunrise from the ‘Mushroom Meatery’, which achieved substantial reach via television audiences and other media channels.

Below-the-line promotional activities (using media channels other than mainstream radio or television to market products) were used, so mushrooms were at the forefront of consumers’ minds. In 2021/22, the levy-funded Grassroots Product Demonstrations and Events program delivered by the Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association was launched in metro and regional areas to create local product demonstration events that build lasting connections with consumers.

The Australian Mushrooms digital campaign was designed to encourage purchase frequency among the existing Australian Mushrooms target audience and inspire consumers with engaging mushroom content.

An ‘Add the Mighty Mushie’ digital program was devised using email marketing and website activities to encourage consumers to transform their meals with Australian Mushrooms. The shared content focused on mushrooms’ health and flavour benefits, including their high vitamin, mineral and antioxidant status and naturally rich umami flavour. 

Nutrition and health credentials

Another focus of the program was to promote mushrooms’ nutrition and unique health benefits by educating and inspiring consumers to incorporate mushrooms in their home cooking. The research run by agency Fiftyfive5 is an excellent example of this initiative in action. To participate in this research, consumers were asked to rank a variety of mushroom health claims against criteria of appeal, credibility and uniqueness.

There were some surprising consumer reactions to the claims. The four key outtakes were:

  1. Health is not a barrier and is not new news.
  2. Immunity and calcium absorption claims do well.
  3. A simpler health claim is best.
  4. The cancer claim has potential but needs further evidence.

The results have been summarised in a handy grower fact sheet, accessed through the new ‘Industry Portal‘ section.

Win in retail

To drive sales in the retail sphere, the visibility of mushrooms needs to be increased in retail settings to capitalise on impulse buying. The retail activity aims to inspire shoppers to purchase mushrooms through pre-and in-store inspiration. This includes retailer in-store advertising, online shopping advertising and out-of-home advertising panels close to or inside retail stores.

Impulse buying can also be achieved with in-store sampling. Australian Mushrooms have a nationwide retail sampling activation that commenced in late August and will run through to the end of October 2022.

Infiltrate café culture

The campaign is weaving mushrooms into Australia’s cafe culture and the nation’s beloved brunch mealtime. The aim for mushrooms is to follow in the wake of smashed avocado on toast and become a must-have menu item. The Australian Mushroom Growers’ Association-run #MyMushroomToast project is designed to infiltrate café culture with a food service program developed to promote mushrooms on toast as an essential café menu item. The program has had a strong start in 2022 and will continue into 2023.

In 2021/22 the Hort Innovation Marketing function underwent a significant shift in their approach to investing marketing levies. You can read more about this in the 2021/22 Hort Innovation Company Annual Report at