Why Aussies are making the Blenditarian diet switch


The Blend

…I can hear you saying “Ok. So we have vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian and now BLENDITARIAN? What the heck is that?” Well calm your mushroom farm, I’m here to explain why “Blenditarianism” is the new diet craze set to take over Australia.

If you google 'Blenditarian' you will see that it’s not a new concept or a passing diet phase. People around the world have been taking the ‘Blenditarian pledge’ for over a decade now, and for many good reasons. 

Here in Australia, we have seen an explosion in the number of consumers adopting a meat-free or meat-reduction diet. In fact, according to the latest Food Frontier report, one in three Australian's are now actively choosing to reduce their meat intake. What are the key reasons for Australian's changing their diets? Well, that depends on who you ask. For millennials, the driving force behind their ‘less meaty’ diet shift seems to typically be for animal rights and sustainability, as eating less red meat is good for the planet. However, for Baby Boomers, who surprisingly make up a whopping 43% of flexitarians in Australia, the main reason for their red-meat-reduction is for health, as non-processed, plant-forward diets are lower in fat, sodium and cholesterol, and are nutritionally better for you.

Ok, so we know that eating less red meat is better for us and the planet... but does that mean I have to say good-bye to the foods I love? Not entirely. What if you could enjoy your family ‘meaty’ favourite dishes like lasagna, spaghetti, or burgers... in a plant-forward way with less meat, and NOT compromising on flavour?

It’s easy. Just make room for mushrooms... and BLEND!

THE BLEND is more a simple way of cooking than an actual diet. All you need to do is substitute some of the mince in recipes you already know and love - for diced mushrooms.

By partially substituting minced red meat for diced mushrooms, your meals will contain less fat, less salt and be more nutritious - without compromising on flavour* (Yep. You saw that asterix. Actual scientists have proven this!)

So, The Blend is a win-win really. You still get to enjoy a good spag bol just like nonna used to make, but it’s better for you and the planet too. Just make room for mushrooms in mince recipes... and BOOM! Just like that you’re a blenditarian!


What is “The Blend”?

It’s more a healthier way of cooking mince-meat dishes than a diet trend. “The Blend” substitutes some of the minced meat in recipes like spaghetti bolognaise or burger patties for diced mushrooms. It’s a simple change in the way you cook, to reduce the meat and super charge the nutritional value of your meals - without compromising on that “meaty” flavour.

How to be a “Blenditarian”

All you need to do is ‘make room for mushrooms’ next time you are cooking a recipe that requires mince. THAT’S IT! The Blend can be used in any minced meat dish, whether it’s beef, chicken, pork or turkey. The substitution ratios are same and the nutrition and flavour boost is awesome.

The great thing about using The Blend method, is that you don’t have to learn any new recipes. All you need to do is substitute some mince for mushrooms in recipes you already know and love – and continue to cook as normal. It’s so easy!

The Blend step one - CHOP
The Blend Step two - BLEND
The Blend step three - COOK

How much mince to I substitute for mushrooms?

That’s a good question. Interestingly, you can substitute up to 70% of mince for mushrooms, in beef mince dishes like shepherd’s pie or chilli con carne, without changing the ‘meaty’ flavour. However the portion of mince depends on what you’re cooking. Mushrooms are made up of a lot of water which is released in the cooking process, so you can add more mushrooms for loose dishes like spaghetti bolognaise and less mushrooms for dishes that need to stay together, like burger patties or meatloaf.

Here’s a handy guide to help:

30/70: Using 30% mushrooms to mince is the perfect consistency for burgers, meatloaf, and meatballs.

40/60: Using 40% mushrooms to mince is great for spaghetti bolognaise, tacos and lasagne, without changing the ‘meaty’ taste.

70/30: Using up to 70% mushrooms is awesome dishes with lots of sauce, like chilli con carne or shepherd’s pie.

100%: Using 100% fresh mushrooms is the perfect alternative for meat-free diets. For your next #meatfreemonday, try replacing mince for mushrooms your family favourites like spaghetti, lasagne, or shepherd’s pie.

Try these recipes featuring The Blend!

Italian Mushroom Meatballs

Mushroom and Chicken Blended Burgers

Mushroom and Chicken Blended Burgers

Cottage Pie with mushrooms

Cottage Pie with Blended Mushrooms

1. HUNGRY FOR Plant-Based: Australian Consumer Insights. (2019). [online] . Available at: https://www.foodfrontier.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Hungry-For-Plant-Based-Australian-Consumer-Insights-Oct-2019.pdf.

2. Cheskin L.J., Davis, L.M., Lipsky L.M., Mitola, A.H., et al. Lack of Energy Compensation Over 4 Days When White Button Mushrooms Are Substituted for Beef. Appetite (2007).

3. Miller, A.M., Mills, K., Wong, T., Drescher, G., et al. Flavor-Enhancing Properties of Mushrooms in Meat-Based Dishes in Which Sodium Has Been Reduced and Meat Has Been Partially Substituted with Mushrooms. Journal of Food Science (2014).

Nutritional Information: Calories: 350, Total Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 80mg, Sodium: 350mg, Total Carbohydrate: 33g, Dietary Fiber: 3g, Sugars: 6g, Protein: 22g

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2. Aldi On pack stickers

Partnering with key growers who supply Aldi supermarkets nationwide, 675,000 stickers will be applied to white and brown mushroom punnets, promoting the Scan to Win competition. Last year 2,695 Stickers were scanned via specially marked Aldi mushroom packs, and we are hoping for a greater uptake this year.

3. ‘A Better Choice’ Marketing Partnership

Partnering with A Better Choice we will reach independent grower networks and consumers in a partnership package that includes:

  • In-store activations of 50 Retail Stores Total (NSW, VIC and SA)
    • Activation includes installation and reporting of on-shelf POS items including shelf wobblers, recipe cards, A3 posters.
    • Includes Print and distribution of POS items
  • 2 x Mushroom Retail Store Cooking Events (VIC, SA) – with Celebrity chef Callum Hann
    • A better choice! Sampling Staff Member in attendance
    • Boosting of 3 x Social Media Posts
  • Consumer Magazine Advertising
    • 1 x 5-Page Section in Autumn
  • Trade communications
    • 4 x EDM Features to all A better choice! Retailers
    • 2 x EDM Features in Central Market EDM’s
  • Consumer Communications
    • 8 x Banners Ads in Weekly Consumer EDM
    • 7 x Supporting Recipes in Consumer EDM
  • Social Media & Website
    • Social Media Feature Week
    • 14 x Mushroom Social Media Posts
    • All recipes loaded to ABC Website

 4. Dr. Emma Beckett interview on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast

Embracing the podcast phenomenon for busy Aussie parents, Dr Emma Becket, Australian mushroom nutrition scientist from FoodIQ Global, will be interviewed on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast Beyond the Bump, to talk about mushrooms important role in children’s nutrition, and how adopting The Blend as a ‘stealth health’ way to reduce meat intake and boost the nutritional value of everyday meaty meals, that kids will LOVE to eat.


5. Influencer Marketing –

Targeting foodies, parents and budget conscious consumers, we have locked in some of Australia’s favourite content creators such as @cookingwithalisha @danroberts and @thefoodarrondissemen – who will be creating content across platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Our aim for this tactic is mass engagement with mass uptake. We want the combined audiences to feel so inspired by the content that they head over to our Blenditarian website, find a recipe and cook it for their family that day!

Other campaign features include:

  • Updated website www.blenditarian.com.au
  • Competition PR strategy
  • Nutritional PR strategy with AMGA Dietitian Jane Freeman
  • Marketing partnership with ‘A Better Choice’ to reach independent grower networks and consumers
  • A hefty Digital Marketing strategy, including:
    • Social ads
    • Google ads and re-marketing
    • Existing 50,000 Mushroom Lovers and Blenditarian database re-engaged
    • Educational email marketing journey
    • New Blenditarian Recipes

Please keep an eye out for a full campaign update via email and in the Winter edition of the AMGA Journal.