As far as Oakfield are concerned, 2020 was the year of the exotic mushroom. "The company's grown from a regular mushroom farm to the largest exotic mushroom grower in the Netherlands. The demand for mushrooms is increasing throughout Europe. That's due to the current trend of healthier food with less sugar, salt, and meat. Local cultivation allows us to deliver sustainable, customized products. We developed concepts based on consumer and cooking trends. These have already resulted in many great, internationally successful products," says an Oakfield representative.
"Oakfield has been under Dutch management since 2017. It focuses on carrying out its mission - the sustainable cultivation of a wide range of high-quality mushrooms. With a short, transparent chain, it's possible to switch quickly and respond to new market developments." Directors Maurice Koppen and Lisa van Veen take a different approach when it comes to mushroom cultivation. They believe strongly in concepts. "You can only serve the market well if you think from the consumer's perspective. "
"Consumers want convenient, fresh, local products without wastage. That's why we supply risotto and pasta mushroom mixes, for example." The latest innovation is the locally grown King oyster mushroom for the supermarket. Unlike the version usually imported from Asia, it's 100% organic. It also has more bite. Oakfield is optimistic about this product. It's a small dish, single item. So it can be a wonderfully surprising alternative for meat or fish.
Putting consumers first includes helping and inspiring them. That's why Oakfield focuses on media promotion. People were encouraged to use King oyster mushrooms. That was done with recipes, ideas, and online activity. This, in turn, stimulated demand. Around the holidays, many online recipes were shared in culinary channels. Recently an article appeared in the culinary section of the Dutch newspaper, the Telegraaf too.
People in countries like China, Korea, and Japan have always eaten and produced exotic mushrooms. The supply of these products has been increasing for some time in several European countries. These are the UK, Germany, and France. People are more familiar with some exotic mushrooms. These include oyster mushrooms and Shiitake. These varieties are doing better and better in the retail sector, both in the Netherlands and abroad.
"The mushroom market has a bright future. Oakfield expects increasing interest for several exotics. That's because mushrooms have established themselves in the modern consumer's diet. There's a definite market for Dutch cultivated mushrooms. These include (King) oyster mushrooms, Shiitake, Nameko, beech mushrooms, Shimeji, and fungi. People have discovered that mushrooms add flavor and texture to (meatless) dishes. That offers endless possibilities for us as producers," concludes Van Veen.