The real blow will arrive in January

Italian mushroom sector at risk because of sharp rise in energy costs

The Italian mushroom sector is on high alert. Starting from January 2022, there will be a disproportionate increase in the cost of electricity, which may even triple, and which threatens to completely bring the sector down. Companies growing the crop in substrate are most at risk, as their biggest expense is electricity, followed by labor hours.

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"We are very worried because new electricity contracts are coming in from January and many people fear this. We are talking about tripled costs compared to January 2021. In our case, it is the companies that work with substrates, which, since they consume the most energy, will see a cost increase that in turn must be spread throughout the supply chain," said Mario Mattozzi, director of Fungo Italiano.

There are fears that mushroom farms will not be able to absorb the cost of substrate, nor will they be able to cope with the increased cost of electricity.

Confindustria Genova, the main association representing manufacturing and service companies in Italy, recently estimated that costs will triple by 2021. Next year, the average price will be €160 per MWh, with peaks of €242 per MWh in the first quarter, which is three times more than the €55-60 per MWh paid in 2021.

"I believe that this requires some deep reflection. In Italy, on average, we consume 1 kg of mushrooms per capita per year. If the consumer spends €3.25 instead of €3.00, I don't think it will have a big impact on the annual family budget. A few tens of cents per kg can make the difference between staying in business or going bankrupt for companies," concluded Mattozzi. 

Eventually, the alternative means less Italian product and more imported crops.

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