“To-Jo has recently introduced a new product: Traditional Mushroom Sautee with Butter, Salt and Pepper,” Paul Frederic, senior vice president of sales and marketing for To-Jo Fresh Mushrooms Inc., in Avondale, PA, told The Produce News. “It is a microwaveable mushroom product in retail-size packs. The new item contains seven ounces of sliced mushrooms that are ready to put directly into a microwave oven. All-natural seasonings and herbs are added to the pre-cleaned mushrooms. Users simply microwave for just under four minutes for fully prepared mushrooms in a delicious sauce.”
Mr. Frederic added that the new microwaveable mushrooms are the perfect answer for today’s consumer in that they offer superior taste and convenience.
For foodservice operators, To-Jo recently launched three new line extensions: Asian Sesame Mushrooms, All-Natural Quick-Blanched Mushrooms and Marinated Mushrooms in Red Wine and Olive Oil Vinaigrette.
The Asian Sesame mushrooms combine fresh and fully prepared To-Jo mushrooms with a sweet and tangy Asian sauce made with sesame oil, sesame seeds, garlic and soy. “It is the perfect complement to proteins, stir-fries and grilled or steamed vegetables,” said Mr. Frederic. “They add a delicious Asian-flair in no time.
“Our newly formulated Marinated Mushrooms in Red Wine & Olive Oil Vinaigrette combines fresh and fully prepared To-Jo mushrooms with a marinade created from a perfect blend of Napa Valley red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil,” he continued. “Added spices and herbs enrich the marinade, making these mushrooms perfect for salads and side dish offerings.”
To-Jo’s new All Natural Quick-Blanched mushrooms offer foodservice operators superior quality, flavor and convenience. The entire line of Natural Quick-Blanched Mushrooms are washed, quickly blanched and then packed with newly formulated brine, enhanced for improved flavor. “They are a perfect addition to burgers, sandwiches, pizza and pasta,” said Mr. Frederic. “An extended shelf-life up to six months is ensured through the use of an all-natural preservative system.”
Strong trends in mushrooms continue to be in the brown category. Mr. Frederic said that Baby Bellas are showing strong growth, especially at the retail level.
“Consumers today are more focused on easy-to-prepare foods,” he said. “They are using the Internet and social media more heavily for recipes and meal solutions, and they are becoming more aware of the nutritional value of mushrooms, such as the vitamin D and antioxidant values. Many consumers are using mushrooms as a meat substitute as a part of a healthy and weight-focused diet.”
To-Jo continues to move forward with the land development stages of its new 133-acre site. It plans to break ground in August on a state-of-the-art growing facility.
Other recent To-Jo news includes the appointment of Todd Kostka as sales and marketing specialist. “Todd graduated in 2009 from Saint Joseph’s University with a degree from the Academy of Food Marketing,” said Mr. Frederic. “He has been with To-Jo for just over two years, previously holding the position of marketing analyst where he was responsible for To-Jo’s marketing efforts. He continues to oversee marketing, but he now also works on the sales and customer service side of the fresh mushroom business alongside Matt Lucovich, director of sales and marketing and me.”
In May, To-Jo Mushrooms announced the completion of a new label design for selected fresh mushroom packs that incorporates a Quick Response code, commonly referred to as QR. Consumers can scan the code with their smartphones and they are immediately redirected to the company’s web site, where they will find a rotating menu of recipes and an overview of To-Jo and its products either by reading the company’s history or watching To-Jo’s corporate video.
In June, the company announced that its packing and processing plants had attained certification under the Safe Quality Food 2000 Standard at Level 3, the highest level of compliance. Both To-Jo plants were awarded excellent ratings after scoring above 99 percent on its certification audits.
Tony D’Amico, president of To-Jo Mushrooms, is a fourth-generation mushroom grower. His late father, Joseph D’Amico Sr., passed along his desire to make the company known for delivering the best quality and service possible.
“My father could see where we wanted to be in 10 years, and he made his decisions based on that vision,” said Mr. D’Amico. “He was the most caring and giving person I have ever met, and he always put others in front of himself. He surrounded himself with the best talent in the industry and made a habit of listening to them. My brother, Joe, and I continue to lead the company today, utilizing the same family values our father felt so strongly about.”