Drive Product Sales with Mushroom Shopper Insights
Produce is an absolute powerhouse in grocery, and even in light of inflation, it still commands about 30% of total fresh sales. Because produce is such a trip magnet, more than half of the time someone goes to the grocery store for anything, they are purchasing something from the produce section.
The mission of the Mushroom Council is to increase awareness and demand for fresh, cultivated mushrooms in the U.S., and so looking deeper into shoppers’ habits can be a valuable tool for marketing and promotion. This past year, the Council looked specifically at what foods were also in the cart when consumers purchased mushrooms. The data source for this effort was IRI household panel data which is approximately 100,000 U.S. households across all outlets (grocery, clubs and supercenters) where they may purchase mushrooms. The Council looked at a 52-week timespan ending in June 2022 that included the rise in inflation during the summer of 2022 and the tail-end of Omnicrom in mid-2021.
First, let’s look at co-purchasing which is the other items people put in their shopping basket when they are also buying mushrooms. While shoppers are in the produce department, other purchases included cooking vegetables such as onions and garlic or salad vegetables like lettuce. There are also specialty cheeses from the deli department in the basket, as well as tomato products, chicken, beef and eggs, which leads researchers to believe that the mushroom consumer is much more of a foodie/home cook than the average American. Some other interesting co-purchasing findings include:
- Higher than average crimini purchases when chicken thighs were also in the cart.
- Top center store co-purchases are stock/broth, canned tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, pasta (in particular, long noodles) and olives.
- Ground beef had lower purchase frequency with mushrooms than chicken breasts, higher-end cuts of steak and bacon. This shows an excellent opportunity to promote blending ground beef with finely chopped mushrooms (also known as The Blend™) showing how consumers can multiply both the amount of vegetables and nutrients in their meals, but also stretch serving sizes with nutritious and delicious mushrooms.
Retail RDs can leverage these insights to tailor programs and promotions. For example, consider advanced cooking classes for mushroom shopper foodies, create bundled promotions with deals on mushrooms when chicken thighs are purchased, and promote uses of mushrooms in a more expansive array of Italian dishes beyond noodles and sauce.
Next, let’s look at cross purchasing. A way to look at cross purchasing is to examine what else do mushroom buyers purchase more frequently than the general population. This shows what types of meals and items mushroom purchasers may be putting together with items in their pantries, fridges and freezers with fresh mushrooms. A few trends emerged:
- Plant-based alternatives: Mushroom households have a higher likelihood to buy refrigerated and frozen plant-based meat alternatives, and other plant-based cheese and yogurt alternatives.
- Seafood: Shrimp, followed by finfish (specifically salmon) are purchased more frequently by mushroom consumers.
- Deli: There is a high engagement with deli cheese and meat, not the pre-packaged items, but the deli-sliced items, shows mushroom shoppers are already shopping the deli department. Here the foodie nature of mushroom consumers emerges strongly, with an over indexing for gouda, brie, ricotta and fresh mozzarella.
- Produce: The same foodie and explorative streak comes out in fresh produce purchases with fresh herbs and more premium produce purchases such as asparagus, eggplant, fresh peas, Brussels sprouts and radishes.
With the rise in popularity of mushrooms in the media, grocery shoppers are more intrigued than ever in these fantastic fungi. This data is aimed to help retail dietitians and produce marketers’ better market to the mushroom consumer, who, as the data shows, can ring up nearly $100 on every grocery visit.
For more information on mushrooms, please visit www.mushroomcouncil.org/retailers/dietitian-resources.