Branded mushrooms increase sales by 40% and help maintain prices

Making your product stand out from competitors is difficult at the best of times but for growers its doubly difficult – how on earth do you brand a mushroom?

Tim Livsey, Managing Director of Livsey Brothers, growers of British exotic mushrooms was concerned by the threat of cheap imports which threatened to erode the wholesale market price of his products. Reducing his prices was not an option so Tim approached Quiet Storm to work with him to combat the foreign threat by highlighting the benefits of the British grown mushrooms.

The challenge was that Livsey Brothers sold through wholesalers, so didn’t have direct contact with the end user but it was the end user of their products that we needed to convey the key messages to. The answer was in the packaging, the redesign needed to be striking so that Livsey mushrooms were recognisable in the kitchens of the chefs using the product. The packaging also needed to highlight the freshness of the product; British mushrooms are at the wholesalers within 48 hours of being picked where as imports can be anything up to 10 days old – this has a dramatic affect on the flavours and to a chef this is of paramount importance.

Today’s food consumer is also very aware of ‘food miles’ and the impact on the environment of transporting food halfway around the globe when it is available locally, so this too was highlighted. Finally, the ever increased burden of ‘due diligence’ of the product back to the grower to ensure it is safe to eat requires 100% ‘traceability’ from the kitchen to farm. Livsey Brothers make all of their composts and substrates on their farm unlike most other producers. They don’t use any pesticides, fertilizers or chemicals at any stage during the growing process and this was seen as a key difference between Livsey Brothers and all of their competition.

“The new packaging is striking and I can’t imagine any chef mistaking our product for an import. Communicating the key difference on the quality of our product was crucial if we were to prevent price erosion and loss of market share to the imported mushrooms entering the marketplace”. Tim went on to say “Quiet Storm’s idea to produce a postcard that was included in the pack which highlighted the key benefits of our mushrooms meant the the chef had a reminder of the product even when the packaging had been disposed of. This, together with the union flag design has seen our sales increase by as much as 40% and more importantly has helped maintain the price in the face of keenly priced imports.”

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