2018 was a record year for organic mushrooms in Switzerland: 604 tons of organic mushrooms were purchased; more than ever before. The trend will continue in the first half of 2019. According to figures from Nielsen Switzerland, 379 tonnes of organic mushrooms were sold between January and June, 25% more than in the first half of the previous year. In addition, there has been a trend reversal in the organic prices since 2018.
This is indicated by the price data for white mushrooms, which the Department of Market Analysis of the Swiss Federal Office of Agriculture evaluates as part of its price collection on fruits and vegetables. In line with increasing sales volumes, organic prices have steadily fallen in the observation period from the high of CHF 17.55 per kg (July 2011). By comparison, conventionally produced white mushrooms (excluding the discount / premium segments) have posted slightly rising prices since 2011.
Finally, in 2016 and 2017, there were even times when conventional mushrooms had higher prices than organic mushrooms. The reason for this phenomenon is that conventional mushrooms of the normal price segment in Switzerland mainly come from domestic production, whereas organic mushrooms were imported because Swiss organic production first had to be established. Because Switzerland is an expensive production location, the difference in the cost of production between the offered bio-imported products and the conventional goods is therefore no longer so high.
In December 2017, this picture changed. At a major retailer, the organic range of mushrooms (white and brown) has been converted to domestic produce. The organic mushrooms from Swiss production have since realized a higher price. This is well reflected in the development of the Swiss organic price, which increased significantly from November 2017 to March 2018, thus halting the long-term downward trend. By comparison, conventionally produced mushrooms did not experience such a price increase during this period. Since 2018, no prices have been recorded below the 14.50 CHF per kg mark at any time. The prices are thus again at about the same level as in 2012.
Social acceptance for higher-priced organic offers
The sales figures for organic mushrooms show that the switch to a higher-priced supply has by no means led to a decline in the demand for organic mushrooms. On the other hand, higher organic sales in 2018 and the first half of 2019 suggest that the new regional product offers added value for consumers. Since September 2018, more than every tenth mushroom sold is from organic production. It will now be interesting to see how demand develops up to the peak winter months.
Source: BLW / Nielsen Schweiz