For the mushroom market, the final balance for the year 2018 was broadly positive on the whole. In addition to the large sales of porcini mushrooms from Eastern Europe, the market situation for other products was generally stable to rising. And above all, there was the growth of forest mushroom and exotic mushroom sales, which continued to very satisfying, says Uwe Buschhaus of the wholesaler of the same name.
Overall, the wholesaler looks back on the past year with positive feelings. Only the yields of porcini mushrooms was rather disappointing because of the drought, confirms Buschhaus. "As of September, there were virtually no porcini, neither from Poland, nor Bulgaria or Romania. As a result, prices were very high. In my opinion, that is primarily due to climate change."
Further growth potential for forest mushrooms
In the case of forest mushrooms, there were also slight price increases compared to the previous year. For chanterelles, the prices per kg were 1 to 2 euros higher that previous year's level, says Buschhaus. "Mushrooms, on the other hand, have remained at about the same price. Only in December, prices usually go up somewhat. Because of the mass consumption at that time, even the smallest price increases can have a big effect on the market.
Forest mushrooms can also be sold quickly in the gastronomy sector, especially the smaller sizes. This tendency is already noticeable in the German wholesale trade, explains Buschhaus. "We sort our chanterelles, for example, into various sizes ; from 1 to 5 cm. In France, one sees rather a contrasting trend, because there, medium and larger mushrooms are more in demand. "In general, the forest mushroom area is the product segment with the greatest growth potential: "Demand is increasing every year and in this range it can still be possible to have some margins."
Increasing demand for mushroom exotics
According to Buschhaus, the importance of mushroom exotics is also growing in the wholesale trade, especially for restaurateurs. The Shimeji for instance, is grown within a very short time from a marginal phenomenon to an interesting commercial product. "We are sourcing this product primarily from China and Korea, noting that sales have increased significantly year-over-year, partly because of their excellent shelf life. The demand is there year-round."
Product presentation is becoming more and more important within mushroom marketing. Exotic mushroom mixtures, among others, are increasingly appearing both in food retailing and in wholesaling. "For example, we offer mixes of up to 10 exclusive varieties in different price ranges."
To meet the growing demand for mushroom specialties, the wholesaler has launched a brand new online shop. This happened just before Christmas. On this platform, it is primarily exotic mushrooms and delicatessen products that are being marketed directly to end customers. "We are still in the experimental phase, but we have to expand the range little by little," concludes Buschhaus.