Vivianna Van Horst Talks Guan's Mushrooms' New Line of Value-Added Specialty Mushrooms
LOS ANGELES, CA - The reign of mushrooms is here and now, with fungi experiencing a revolution of sorts across our industry. While many foodservice operators, culinary professionals, and shoppers are jostling to get their hands on the produce up-and-comer, companies like Guan’s Mushrooms are still seeing a need for information on the fungi category to be more widespread. With varieties like portobello and cremini mushrooms old hat now to consumers, Guan’s Mushrooms is launching Blends in four major West Coast retail markets as a means to familiarize consumers with specialty mushrooms and make them a year-round household staple.
I chatted with Vivianna Van Horst, Business Development Manager, to dig deeper into Guan’s Mushrooms’ new line of value-added specialty mushrooms, set to hit retail in September.
“Guan’s Mushrooms started in 1996 when Juliet Chu and David Guan started a mushroom business in China. They then brought the business over to Northern California, and became well-known in the foodservice and meal kit delivery realms, supplying mushrooms to Purple Carrot and more. As a result, everyone in foodservice knows who we are, but we are not as well-known in retail. So, we’re going to change that,” Vivianna tells me. “With our dive into retail, our biggest goal is to share the health benefits of mushrooms as the category is much more than what meets the eye.”
One way Guan’s Mushrooms is educating shoppers on the health benefits and versatility of specialty mushrooms is through the new line itself. The line includes different combinations of three types of mushrooms perfect for specific flavor palettes, recipes, and seasons, including Protein, Barbecue, Pasta, Stir Fry, Stew, Soup, and Thanksgiving Stuffing Blends. The 6-ounce packaging includes images and easy-to-follow recipes, and Vivianna notes that the packaging makes the Specialty Mushrooms Blends perfect for cross-promoting almost anywhere in the store.
The company is also holding demos at store locations in Los Angeles, wielding social media, and promoting with programs like City of Hope—anytime a shopper buys a package of mushrooms, a portion of the proceeds are donated to the cancer treatment charity—to talk about the health of mushrooms.
“Since we’re trying to not just say ‘hey, here’s this product,’ but rather inform people how to use the product, response has been great, and everybody is loving the Blends. As a company, we never hear any complaints; everybody talks about how fantastic our quality and response time is. We have several local farms located around the U.S., so we can ship our mushrooms fresh. While many companies leave their mushrooms in the ground for 50 days, we leave them in the ground for 90 days, so that the mushroom flavor is deeper. On top of that, we don’t use manure; everything is grown in cotton and sawdust, so all of our mushrooms are clean and sustainable,” Vivianna explains.
There’s a reason mushrooms are leading the produce charge into shoppers’ carts these days and Guan’s Mushrooms’ new line of Specialty Mushrooms Blends is just fuel to the flame.
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