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Mushroom growers call on food industry for nutrition knowledge

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Australian Mushrooms has teamed up with Nutrition Research Australia in a new nutrition education program, calling on food industry professionals to help uncover ways the Australian mushroom could solve some of the nation’s biggest nutrition problems. 

With the Australian food industry representing around $172 billion, the industry has a profound influence on the nation’s overall health. The Australian Mushrooms research program will engage key players in the food industry, including hospitals, aged care, quick service restaurants and food manufacturers to identify opportunities for Australian mushrooms to be included in menus to improve health outcomes. 

NRAUS CEO, Dr Flavia Fayet-Moore, explained that as fungi, mushrooms have a unique set of nutritional properties that are found across different food groups including vegetables, grains, nuts and meats, as well as unique bioactive compounds not commonly found in animals or plants.  

“With their characteristic umami and meaty taste profile, mushrooms are a unique nutrient rich plant-based food, making them an extremely valuable ingredient on cafes, restaurants, and establishments’ menus – in an environment where flexitarian and vegan diets are on the rise,” Fayet-Moore said. 

Before the program kicks off, Australian Mushrooms would like to find out what the current level of mushroom usage and knowledge is within the industry, calling on food industry professionals to tell them what they know about the mighty mushroom via a quick survey.  

By completing the survey, participants will have the chance to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards and will pass on valuable insights to the mushroom growers and nutrition researchers aiming to improve Australian health.   

After finding out current knowledge levels, the team will work alongside culinary education organisations, such as TAFEs, to incorporate mushroom nutrition education into curriculums. This will help provide tools and resources to the food service industry at the grassroots level.  

As consumer demand trends continue to lower their intake of animal foods, the team aims to spread awareness of mushrooms as being a nutritious option that could hold the key to supporting nutritional needs, and lead to several improvements in the health of Australians. 

“Research pre-COVID and likely to be higher now, shows that around one in four Australian adults has Vitamin D deficiency, an issue that increased mushroom consumption can help tackle,” Fayet-Moore said. 

Answers are anonymous and estimated time to complete the survey is under five minutes. This is also an opportunity to help local mushroom growers in their latest nutrition education project and become part of the Australian mushroom growers community. 

This three-year research project is managed by the Australian Mushroom Growers Association and funded by Hort Innovation, using the mushroom research and development levy funds from the Australian government. 

Food industry professionals can take part in the Australian mushrooms survey here. 

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