Mushrooms and Global Health Initiative (MU09002)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Market research indicated that specific health associations between mushroom consumption and positive health outcomes were of key interest to consumers. The Mushrooms and Health Global Initiative (Initiative) leveraged this knowledge to support the Australian mushroom industry’s strategic plan to increase the consumption of mushrooms by providing scientific information linking the beneficial effects of mushrooms on human health.
The Initiative was a collaborative project between scientists, nutrition experts, and communication professionals that provided the science to support community awareness and educational efforts. The Initiative systematically worked to collect, evaluate and communicate research that linked Agaricus bisporus, specialty and medicinal mushrooms to improved overall health and well-being through its core components: the Mushrooms and Health Report, the Mushrooms and Health website, and the Bulletin.
The Mushrooms and Health Report was an extensive literature review of the published scientific material on mushroom consumption and human health; the quarterly Bulletin newsletter alerted readers to recent research and included examples of how that research was communicated to health professionals, media and consumers. The Mushrooms and Health Global Initiative website housed these components as a continued resource for the industry, interested researchers, and those in the public domain seeking detailed technical information.
The Initiative also provided the scientific basis for the development of information packages about the health and nutritional benefits of mushrooms that were shared with the key influencers and the Australian and international community. Examples of these focused activities included:
- Use of social media; Twitter parties; re-tweets and chats
- Webinars for health professionals
- Establishing the Initiative as a resource through industry websites
- Scientific presentations at professional conferences
- E-blasts and newsletters to health professionals
- Partnerships with health organizations and government agencies
- Videos and interviews with mushroom researchers for use with media
- Distribution of materials, recipes and taste testing at conferences
As a result of the Initiative’s efforts, the Mushrooms and Health Report first released in 2008 had been updated bi-ennually in 2010 and 2012; 22 issues of the Bulletin were distributed electronically to key industry organizations and interested scientists; and over 80 separate countries visited the website. Initiative efforts have been extended globally through programs and activities adopted by other mushroom producing countries particularly the United States, Spain, United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada France, Belgium, Poland, Italy, Netherlands and South Africa. This was important because the more news about mushrooms that occured around the globe, the greater the chance that it would also be news here in Australia.
Going forward the use of the Internet and social media enabled greater global discussion and participation to identify and communicate compelling scientific reasons for consumers to eat more mushrooms. Continued access to the Initiative’s outputs by the industry, media and health influencers was essential to familiarise consumers with mushroom’s health/nutrition benefits so that commercial mushroom producers could experience the longer term financial return resulting from increased consumer demand and the subsequent worldwide consumption of mushrooms.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with co-investment from Australian Mushroom Growers Association Ltd and funds from the Australian Government.
Copyright © Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited 2016. The Final Research Report (in part or as whole) cannot be reproduced, published, communicated or adapted without the prior written consent of Hort Innovation (except as may be permitted under the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth)).