“We recently added stuffed Baby Bellas with three different stuffings,” said Bill Litvin, senior vice president of sales for Giorgio Fresh, headquartered in Blandon, PA. “They are cheese and imitation bacon, imitation crab, and artichoke and spinach. This new line is currently available in retail packaging, and the foodservice packaging was launched at the PMA Foodservice Conference & Expo in July.”
Litvin added that the new stuffed Baby Bellas definitely spice up the company’s product line. And the different stuffings are sure to satisfy every consumer palate.
He also pointed out that according to the Mushroom Council there was a recent increase in average mushroom prices, which was driven by the growth of white mushrooms.
“Brown mushrooms also saw growth in the past month [July] as it increased well into the double-digits,” said Litvin. “Cremini and Portabellas experienced a strong dollar growth as well. Overall, there has been a steady growth in the mushroom industry due to the awareness and attention it has been receiving as of late.”
Litvin acknowledged the mushroom industry’s overall attention to the organic and sustainable movements, and said they can only help the mushroom industry.
“Consumers are starting to buy products that are not only better for their bodies, but also better for the earth,” he said. “This will translate into more popularity for the mushroom industry as they are considered a fresh alternative to many foods currently making it to the dinner table.
“The mushroom industry has been on an upward climb this year as more opportunities for the food group are arising,” Litvin continued. “College campuses and schools are starting to incorporate mushrooms into their cafeteria menus, while chefs are leading demonstrations throughout the country using mushrooms as their main ingredient. Because this is adding a new dimension to the industry, we can expect it to continue to increase sales and awareness.”
He agreed with others that the Mushroom Council’s “Swap It or Top It” campaign focused strongly on putting the mushroom on a pedestal and showing retailers how versatile the item can truly be.
“To engage in the program, we are working with meat processors to help them develop new products that incorporate mushrooms,” Litvin shared. “We have worked with Yale University on developing products they can offer to their students as part of their meal plan. We are also discussing with all levels of customers and end users the benefits of incorporating mushrooms into their daily diets.”
The Giorgio name goes back to 1928 when Pietro Giorgi built his first mushroom houses in Temple, PA. It was the beginning of a proud and long-standing tradition of growing only the highest-quality mushrooms — a tradition that the third generation carries on at Giorgio today. It is a multi-faceted company and one of the larger growers of mushrooms in the world.