In the canton of Bern, mushrooms were already grown three generations ago in the Gerber family; it celebrated its 80th anniversary last year. However, membership of the Association they previously did not aspire to, until the entry of the current owner in 2017. He saw the advantages of joining for his firm. Because the regional origin of mushrooms plays an important role in Switzerland, but competition with products from Central and Eastern Europe has remained steadfast in recent years. Busslinger: "Of course we are fighting the import of foreign goods, due to the fact that we harvest all mushrooms by hand. This makes production rather complex and expensive. And then there is the necessary labour force. This makes it difficult for us to keep up with foreign countries.”
Nevertheless, a large proportion of Swiss consumers prefer products from their own soil, including mushrooms. The steady rise of brown mushrooms is an interesting trend nowadays. “We see a significant increase in brown mushroom sales as they are both tastier and more consistent. For the major producers, the sales ratios are about the same. But we also supply catering and the white champignon is still the most popular. Currently we have about a third brown and two thirds white mushrooms under cultivation.”
The Gerber Champignons AG is a traditional enterprise, located between Thun and the Swiss capital of Bern. On an operating area of around 7,500 m2 some 70 employees produce around 1,200 tonnes of white and brown mushrooms each year. The clientele of the AG consists mainly of large distributors and gastronomes, among others in the wholesale market of Zurich.
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