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After recognising a gap in consumers’ knowledge, the Costa Group looked to its packaging to help educate people on ways to use and how to cook mushrooms. Kim Berry looks at what’s in the box. This article was first published in Food & Drink Business May 2021.

Costa marketing and innovation manager – mushroom category Elisa Siliato says there are five types of mushroom buyers and only one of those loves them and buys them every week.

“There are those who don’t use them unless a recipe calls for them, people who don’t really know what to do with them or don’t know the difference between varieties, and then those who know they are good for you but don’t know why. We knew we had to educate people,” Siliato says.

The result was Mush-Boom, a consumer-facing advocacy brand using packaging as the main player. “We gave mushrooms a voice, personality, vibrancy and appeal,” she says.

The first step was to promote the nutritional benefits on the packaging. A QR code lets consumers find out more about its nutrients as well as how they are grown and recipes to try.

On the packaging is the variety’s name, Costa’s quirky descriptive name, and the best occasion to use that mushroom type.

“The Flavour Saviour is the Swiss Brown because they are so jam-packed with flavour, they dial up taste in any meal. The Big Allrounder is for the Portobello Flat mushrooms because they are exactly that – a big, great substitute for steak on the barbecue or for stuffing,” Siliato explains.

The packaging is 100 per cent recyclable where possible. Siliato says all the packaging with exception of the stretch wrap on pre-packs is recyclable.

“We are committed to finding a fully recyclable packaging solution. It’s a balancing act to manage sustainability and food waste, but we don’t shy away from looking for a solution,” she says.

Pre-packaged mushrooms are transported in recyclable carrier trays and the mushrooms packed in PET recycled materials.

Costa has plans underway to move to rPet soon, as part of its ongoing mission to ensure sustainability throughout its supply chain.

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