Gerber Champignons AG joins Pilzverband

‘Joint stance of Swiss mushrooms growers makes sense’

Although Gerber Champignons AG is the oldest breeding company in Switzerland, it was the only one that had not yet been represented in the Association of Swiss Mushroom Producers (VSP). During Holy Week just before Easter, this traditional company joined the association. This means that all breeders are represented in the VSP. “The Association stands for a common stance of the producers, so that locally grown mushrooms can continue to position themselves on the market. This also makes sense for our company," says Cyrill Busslinger, who has owned the AG for the last year.

Owner Cyrill Busslinger shows his white mushrooms

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.”

Brown mushrooms
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.”

Furthermore, the demand for convenience products is increasing and mushroom mixtures are gradually conquering the scene. Because mushroom and exotic blends are gaining more and more importance in today's wholesale and retail trade. “Of course we are a pure mushroom grower, but we also offer mixtures of browns and whites. They are very popular at the moment and it is also a way to get consumers used to the taste of brown mushrooms.”

The production plant in the canton of Bern

Servicing gastronomes
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.

For more information:
Gerber Champignons AG
Inh. Cyrill Busslinger
Pfandersmatt 159
CH-3662 Seftigen
Telefon: +41 33 356 34 34
Fax: +41 33 356 26 21

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