Mushroom growers are entering 2020 with record sales volumes, increasing retail prices and solid demand for fresh mushrooms, according to the American Mushroom Institute.
The September shipment report from the Mushroom Council™ shows domestic mushroom production set a new all-time high. This was the fourth consecutive new monthly high and reflects steady sales growth throughout the summer months. Both June and August volume exceeded 80 million pounds for the first time ever, indicating that mushroom sales are strong year-round. Combined shipments (domestic plus imports) also hit new record highs.
Mark Lang, MBA, Ph.D., University of Tampa, analyzed the recent data trends for the Council. “As mushrooms become a staple item for many Americans and more people start consuming them, demand has risen steadily for the past decade,” said Lang.
Retail prices are also seeing a steady increase. The most recent tracking data from IRI showed that as of Nov. 3, 2019, the average selling price for fresh mushrooms increased from $4.06/lb in October 2018 to $4.17/lb in October 2019, with an average increase of 1% per month.
"Retailers and their shoppers are demonstrating that the demand for fresh mushrooms is no fad—it’s a long-term trend. We see expanding displays and more real estate in the produce department, combined with record high retail prices—all the result of consumers demanding more healthy, flavorful plant-forward foods. Fresh mushrooms are well positioned for even greater growth in the near future," said Steven Muro, President, Fusion Marketing.
Mushrooms are also trending in the food service sector. The National Restaurant Association named mushrooms the top produce item of 2020 with The Blend™ as a 2020 trend. Colleges and universities are also embracing meat and mushroom blends on their menus, with 42% of college dining halls serving mushroom-blended products.
The increase in prices and demand was also indicated in the recently revised National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) 2019 Report. The average reported price was $1.34 per pound, up 3 cents from the previous year’s price for the eight states documented in the new reporting method.
The report also revealed a new record high of mushroom crop being sold into the fresh market at 92.1%. These increases have also prompted multiple producers to expand, with some growers either planning or have recently completed expansions. J-M Farms in Miami, OK, broke ground last month on a $9 million expansion. Ostrom Mushroom Farms in Sunnyside, WA, will begin production in 2020 at a new 43-acre farm.