UK: Demand for dried mushrooms increasing faster than for exotic

As the cold winter nights draw in people look to warm hearty dishes, which is great news for mushroom producers as many hearty meals include mushrooms. But according to James Meers, Commercial Director at G's Fresh, although mushrooms increase in popularity in the run up to Christmas, they are even more popular after Christmas when people are in that healthy eating phase and the biggest sales are made in January and February.

"One of the things which will be very interesting to see this year is whether the British public will follow the American trend of replacing the beef burgers with mushroom burgers. They say "the trend is to blend" and it has taken off and become quite popular over there. In the UK there is a move towards less meat consumption in general, so I wonder if in the new year we will actually see more mushrooms replacing meat than we would historically, it could open up a whole new trend."

People traditionally eat more mushrooms on Christmas Day, it is a traditional breakfast and people expect them to be on the plate.

"I think next year we will see potentially more demand around more opportunities to eat mushrooms, such as by them replacing meat etc. so it should be quite interesting. There is already some promotion going on to encourage people to eat more mushrooms, it is still in the very early stages."

James goes on to say that when people realise that mushrooms are a very healthy option, they need to know how to incorporate them into their meals. This is not something the industry has come to terms with yet, but he is sure it will come in time as there is definitely an opportunity there.

A typical increase at Christmas would be 10-20%, but this is dependent on which day it falls," explains James. This year it is on a Monday so the week leading up is going to be incredibly busy.

"We don't do a lot of speciality mushrooms, but we do have our own brand of dried mushrooms: Found! which has been selling very well. We have looked at research and globally it is exotic mushrooms which are seeing growth, but here in the UK it is only 1%. We have found a bigger demand for dried mushroom, as these can be kept in the cupboard to be used whenever needed and won't go bad after a couple of days. We have seen a steady increase in demand for this product. In the range we have dried porcini, and a dried wild mix.

"People are interested in these mushrooms", but don't necessarily want to buy them fresh because not everyone knows what to do with them. With the Found! dried mushrooms there are recipes on the packing, plus if you only use half the bag you can store them till the next day.

James Meers
G’s Fresh Mushrooms
Tdl: +44 1353 726873

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