Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition: About

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Birth of a Concept: The Blend

For the past several years, chefs have faced increasing pressure to serve healthier and more sustainable meals that still taste delicious. Simultaneously achieving nutrition, sustainability, and flavor is a core value of America’s food system and a guiding principal of the James Beard Foundation. It is not always easy to do.

The meat-and-mushroom-blended burger was conceived of and incubated by the Healthy Menus R&D Collaborative (HMC), an educational initiative of high-volume culinary leaders, including a number of colleges, developed by the Culinary Institute of America in partnership with its founding member, the Mushroom Council. The Blend concept is an example of the innovative and strategic culinary insights used to address the substantial health and environmental imperatives that face our foodservice industry. Read more about The Blendand “The Protein Flip”.

Many have perceived this groundbreaking development as an opportunity to change the way Americans eat. Students across the country are already getting the chance to savor The Blend because of forward thinking campus chefs. Now campus chefs can be acknowledged for the work they do to show students how great taste, better nutrition, and increased sustainability can come together to improve the quality of the food they eat. Read more about Sustainability here (link to sustainability page).

Why Choose The Blend

When you blend finely chopped or diced mushrooms with ground meat—The Blend—you can create burgers that are better for your students without sacrificing all the things they love about a burger.

The Blend has proven to:

  • Improve flavor, texture, and juiciness of burgers (great for holding), especially when using higher quality or leaner meats
  • Make burgers healthier for your students by reducing calories (by as much as 25% or more), fat, and sodium while adding important vitamins and minerals to your burger like vitamin D, potassium, selenium, ergothioneine, and B vitamins
  • Enhance your sustainable practices by reducing carbon footprint and water usage
  • Allow students to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, and feel good about eating a little better, something they want to do but, don’t often have the opportunity based on today’s food choices

The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg Businessweek, the New York Times, NRA, Sysco Shape, Plate Magazine, and more have called out the blend as a top trend to watch. Prevention Magazine called the blend “the best burger ever” while the Washington Post celebrated “the latest miracle of mushrooms: their ability to blend with and boost the flavors of ground meat in foods such as burgers and chili, while simultaneously cutting calories, fat, and costs.”

Foodservice Director and Restaurant Business were among the first to say that “the trend is to Blend,“ which is why we are excited to have them as our exclusive trade media partner.

In addition to the Blended Burger Project™, you can make a difference by taking the Blenditarian pledge—a promise to do better for the health and sustainability of the planet by making The Blend. Visit to take the pledge.

About the James Beard Foundation and Blended Burger Project™ Partnership

Over the last eight years, through its Impact Programs, JBF has become more involved in the conversations around health and sustainability in our food system. These programs and initiatives include the annual JBF Food Summit, where JBF explores timely subjects with top researchers, food entrepreneurs, farmers, biologists, activists, chefs, and other professionals; the yearly Leadership Awards, which recognize visionaries creating a more healthful, sustainable, and safe food world; and the Chefs Boot Camp for Policy and Change, which provides a unique opportunity for civically and politically minded chefs to become more effective leaders for food-system change.

This year JBF is pleased to once again partner with the Mushroom Council to host the Blended Burger Project™, which encourages chefs to create a healthier, more sustainable, and tastier burger that can be enjoyed by consumers across the country, while also educating diners about the many benefits of The Blend and the future of food.


The Blended Burger Project™ Campus Edition is supported by: