Pilze & Waldfrüchte Uwe Niklas Ltd is enjoying a very good porcini season, Lisa Niklas informs us. In contrast to the last two years, this year the company can access an excellent harvest from the Balkans.
"We had hoped for a good autumn harvest, especially since the product currently serves not only the fresh market, but is also processed into frozen and dry goods. The last two segments in particular are seeing strong price influences. In the spring, we did not have a good harvest either, as the produce was very worm-infested. However, there is currently a very good harvest in the Balkans. The product is visually appealing and of excellent quality. Good volumes are available. The season started around the beginning of September," says Niklas. Depending on customer requirements, the porcini mushrooms are offered sliced or whole.
Porcini mushrooms from the Balkans
Most of the porcini mushrooms are sourced from the Balkans, although small-scale produce from Poland is also available, but Niklas said the quality of these is not comparable to that from the Balkans. "The mountain produce from the Balkans is very nice and firm. However, we also source goods from there that grow in other areas. In addition, we have a special permit for mushroom purchases at our site in Roding-Neubäu. Normally, one is only allowed to collect between one and two kilograms per person per day. However, those who deliver the goods to us are allowed to collect more. These volumes are quite manageable." Right now, the price per kilo for porcini mushrooms is 30 percent lower than last year.
Good quality meets good demand
Demand is very good at the moment, because the quality is very good as well, especially since there are few chanterelles left at the moment. "Gastronomes are switching to porcini mushrooms accordingly. Both in wholesale and in food retail, the demand is very good, because the prices are also not too high. Therefore, consumers are not just buying the small packages, but the 300- to 400-gram packages as well," says Niklas. Wholesalers are still the main buyers, as food retailers are somewhat more cautious about this product segment in view of the product's shelf life. "However, there are still retailers who run promotions, from which we consistently receive a positive response." For wholesalers, the company offers the product in 1-, 2- and 3-kg trays.
Mushrooms as a luxury product and meat substitute
According to Niklas, mushrooms are basically a luxury product, which is precisely why it should remain affordable for the consumer. The current situation should not be used to charge more than necessary, Niklas said. "However, mushrooms are also used as a meat substitute, and compared to meat, mushrooms are relatively inexpensive."
Many orders in the frozen and dried sector
The frozen and dried mushroom sector is also performing very well, Niklas said. "We are noticing a high level of interest in dried mushrooms, as we are receiving many orders for this product segment. In the frozen segment, of course, we have to see how the demand develops, in view of the rising electricity prices." Currently, demand for frozen mushrooms is consistently positive in both food retail and wholesale.
In all areas, it is important for the company to be able to maintain the level of quality. "The fact that we manage to do this becomes clear through the satisfaction of our customers. We work with customers who have been with us for years, but it seems that new customers are quick to show their loyalty as well," Niklas concludes.
Images: Pilze Niklas
For more information:
Bayer. Pilze & Waldfrüchte Uwe Niklas GmbH
Tel: +49 9469 94040
Fax: + 49 9469 9404 13