American Mushroom Institute's Rachel Roberts Discusses 2021 National Agriculture Statistics Service Report on Fresh Mushrooms
AVONDALE, PA - As more shoppers explore unique ways to incorporate mushrooms into their home-cooked meals, demand is continuing to climb for the category. American Mushroom Institute recently commented on the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) 2021 Report on Fresh Mushrooms, with President Rachel Roberts offering an inside look at the market amidst supply chain, labor, transportation, and pandemic challenges.
“The increasingly health-conscious consumer is finding more mushrooms to love and more ways to love them, cook them, include them in daily meals and daily nutritional intake and dieting,” Roberts said. “Mushroom farmers stand ready to meet that enthusiastic demand when pricing and labor barriers can be adequately addressed.”
According to the 2021 Report, the volume of sales for the 2020-2021 mushroom crop totaled 758 million pounds, down a marked 7 percent from last season, with the value of sales at $1.06 billion, down 8 percent from the previous season. The average reported price was $1.40 per pound. Value of sales for commercially grown specialty mushrooms reportedly reached $66.1 million.
As noted in a press release, United States fresh market sales of Agaricus mushrooms totaled 671 million pounds, down 9 percent from the previous season, while processed sales, which totaled 66.7 million pounds, increased 20 percent from the previous season.
The American Mushroom Institute noted that some of the decreases can be explained by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the abrupt closing of foodservice locations like restaurants, hotels, cruise lines, and university systems. These decreases can also be attributed to material shortages and labor challenges, as many mushroom growers are currently working with only 75 percent of the workforce needed to harvest full yields.
“In addition to the pandemic impacts, commercial mushroom growers saw no end in sight to raw material shortages; the embattled and continued labor shortage; and increased transportation, gas, and oil costs,” Roberts added. “Despite providing an essential product throughout the pandemic, mushroom farms have not experienced any market changes that reflect the essential nature of the food they produce and the workforce that produces it. All of agriculture has proved its mettle in responding to a crisis in the name of stabilizing the food source for its country. Yet prices and labor policies that don’t reflect market demand for mushrooms continue to artificially squeeze margins that need to expand in order to accommodate the consumers’ booming appetite for mushrooms.”
Demand for mushrooms is expected to continue to rise, and Roberts pointed out that Cremini mushrooms are a good example of what many mushroom suppliers are currently facing.
“Cremini mushrooms are in higher demand yet cost more to grow," Roberts said. "Add even higher costs...and these mushrooms are costing mushroom growers much more to grow this year; yet according to the NASS report, the price has remained the same since last year.”
The American Mushroom Institute also noted that specialty mushrooms have been particularly impacted, and many varieties have experienced supply chain delays, with the Shiitake variety being heavily impacted. However, as demand remains steady in the category, mushrooms are sure to remain a high-performing category at retail.
“Higher consumption, combined with increased awareness about mushrooms’ health benefits, all point to mushrooms holding strong at retail—which naturally carries over to foodservice as menu developers take continued note of mushrooms’ growing prestige,” Roberts explained.
To read the full NASS 2021 Report, click here.
AndNowUKnow promises to keep a tab on the fresh mushroom market and the industry altogether, so stay tuned.