Mushroom levy to stay

Mushroom industry votes to keep levy; Costa rebrands mushroom range

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HEARD: The Australian mushroom industry has voted to maintain the statutory levy as it is. Photo: Shutterstock

HEARD: The Australian mushroom industry has voted to maintain the statutory levy as it is. Photo: Shutterstock

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The mushroom levy will stay as it is, according to the ballot results.

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THE Australian mushroom industry has voted to maintain the current statutory levy.

But the need for some changes has been noted by the industry association.

The results of a ballot, held over the past month or so, showed just under 82 per cent of votes were in favour of retaining the research and development levy, while just under 79pc of votes were in favour of keeping the marketing and promotions levy.

Australia's largest mushroom producer, Costa Mushrooms, used its right as a levy payer to call for a vote on the Mushroom (Agaricus) Statutory Levy in November.

About 72pc of levy payers voted in the ballot.

The ballot asked levy payers to provide their support for the abolishment of the marketing component of the mushroom levy, as well as to provide their support for the abolishment of the research and development component of the mushroom levy.

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The Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA), encouraged all levy payers to have their say, and participate in the voluntary postal vote.

AMGA chairman, Dr Geoff Martin, said the AMGA's role was to advocate for its members and to act in the best interest of the industry.

"This vote allowed all levy payer voices to be heard," Dr Martin said.

"Our statutory levy is the envy of many mushroom associations around the world, particularly our research and development (R&D) levy, which is extremely important to our industry as it is to any other."

The R&D levy is matched by dollar-for-dollar with Australian Government funding.

"AMGA is committed to working with all levy payers, large or small, to preserve and grow the industry through shared knowledge and effective marketing and advertising that will increase volumes and market share for levy payers," Dr Martin said.

While the majority of votes were in favour of maintaining the levies, the AMGA noted the need for some changes.

"The AMGA board and members, including AMGA member, Costa, acknowledges that there are some imperfections with the current management of the levies," an AMGA statement said.

"AMGA has commissioned a business case for presentation to Hort Innovation in early 2021. Details will be shared with industry, following the outcome of the presentation."

Costa launches Mush-Boom

MEANWHILE, the Costa Group has consolidated its mushroom range from three brands to one with the launch of Mush-Boom.

The new name goes along with the tagline: "Rescue your meals from boring", and has a user-friendly website with recipes and nutrition information.

Until recently, the business had three different local and international mushroom brands in-market.

The creative agency, Principals, was brought in to help with the redesign.

Principals creative director, Pip Ireland, said the business's aim was to bring the "boom" to mushrooms by creating a brand - and a name - full of personality.

"This was achieved by showcasing the mushroom's diversity of use and flavour. The brand needed to appeal to both young and old, with research and insights helping to inform the bold new positioning," Ms Ireland said.

Costa marketing and innovation manager, Elisa Siliato, said more and more consumers were seeking to reduce or replace meat in their diets and mushrooms are a terrific alternative, yet, traditionally, they have flown under the radar with the category largely unbranded.

"Mush-Boom is an exciting departure from the status quo highlighting the fact that mushrooms are fun, quirky and full of goodness," Ms Siliato said.

"Principals has introduced a personality that appeals to customers and will inspire them to get cooking."

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