Skip to main content

Plant-Based Burger Gains Brand Awareness with Buyers Mission Participation at Two Major Trade Shows

Plant-Based Burger Gains Brand Awareness with Buyers Mission Participation at Two Major Trade Shows

During May and June of 2022, The Mushroom Angel Co., creators and producers of Cruz Burgers, attended Food Export – Midwest’s Buyers Missions at the Summer Fancy Food and National Restaurant Association Show. The buyers missions, which ran parallel with the tradeshows, provided the Detroit supplier the opportunity for private one-on-one meetings with international buyers.

While attending the Buyers Mission at the National Restaurant Association Show in May, The Mushroom Angel Co. met with five international buyers representing Canada, Colombia, Chile, Guatemala, and Trinidad and Tobago. These meetings resulted in three new agent relationships for the Michigan supplier who is projecting to complete $200,000 in combined sales to Canada, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago over the next twelve months.

During the Summer Fancy Food Buyers Mission in June, The Mushroom Angel Co. met four new foreign buyer contacts representing Antigua, Brazil, New Zealand, and Japan that will potentially help them see $120,000 in gross revenue over the next year. During the trade show, The Mushroom Angel Co. also exhibited under the Michigan Pavilion sponsored by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). This helped the veggie burger supplier gain access to more foreign buyer contacts and industry connections if they otherwise exhibited on their own.

Cruz Burgers was established after the Da’Cruz family participated in the Daniel’s Fast, a spiritual fast in which meat, dairy wine, and other rich foods are avoided in favor of vegetables and water in order to be more sensitive to prayer. This required them to think outside of the box for meat alternatives that did not taste ‘fake.’ Through this process, they developed a mushroom-based patty that “cuts and bites like meat but tastes like a veggie burger,” as they describe it.

Starting a business amidst the global pandemic has proved its challenges, but The Mushroom Angel Co. believes that building the connections with buyers and meeting the right people have been some of the most impactful components of working with Food Export – Midwest and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). This is a woman, minority, and family-owned company that is hoping to see itself grow from five to a high-six figures in the near few years.

“Attending the trade shows exposed our startup business to an array of new customers and buyers, exponentially increasing our ability to secure new sales domestically and internationally faster,” said W.E. Da’Cruz, cofounder of Mushroom Angel Co. “The interests we received at the events with Food-Export Midwest and MDARD has helped us to begin scaling production and expanding our hiring efforts to meet the projected demands. Before the trade shows, it was just a two-man team (my husband and I) with ad hoc volunteers. Today, we have three local part-time paid team members supporting in the kitchen and leading demos in markets and stores .”     

As a startup, The Mushroom Angel Co. wanted to align themselves with an organization that could help grow their knowledge. With the wide range of programs and services provided to them through Food Export and MDARD, everything was made easier and allowed them to go head-to-head with some of the larger brands.

Food Export uses funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) to help America’s small businesses increase their exports of food and agricultural products. As these exports increase, these small businesses are creating jobs and improving the strength and stability of our agricultural economy. Food Export-Midwest and Food Export-Northeast are non-profit organizations that work in collaboration with their member state departments of agriculture and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The International Marketing Program assists the state’s food and agricultural businesses in developing domestic and international market opportunities to effectively grow their business. In conjunction with various partners and service providers, the International Marketing Program offers Michigan businesses a variety of export marketing programs and services. Our team wants to help grow your business, so please contact us at MDARD-AgD@Michigan.gov.