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Fresh mushroom value, per capita consumption continues to rise

Laura Phelps, president of the American Mushroom Institute in Washington, DC, said that for the third consecutive year, mushroom sales have exceeded $1 billion in value, with sales totaling 896 million pounds, according to the annual U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service mushroom survey. Pennsylvania accounted for 62 percent of the total volume of sales and second-ranked California contributed 13 percent.

“Yet the coming months will be challenging as the industry braces for a reduction in supply,” said Phelps. “Two mushroom farms have suspended production, which leaves a 25 to 30-million-pound hole right before the holiday season.

“The USDA statistics show that awareness of mushrooms’ taste, versatility and nutrition among consumers continues to increase and that leads to increased demand,” she continued.“Per capita consumption of fresh mushrooms hit an all-time high last year at 2.8 pounds. With tight supply, prices should be moving up.”

Brown mushrooms, including Portobello and Crimini varieties, accounted for 152 million pounds, up 4 percent from last season. Brown mushrooms accounted for 17 percent of the total Agaricus — the influence on yield of mushrooms — volume sold and 21 percent of the total Agaricus value.

The NASS report also showed that the value of sales for commercially grown specialty mushrooms — Shiitake, Oyster and Enoki — last year totaled $64.7 million, up seven percent from the previous year.

Growers sold 22.6 million pounds of certified organic mushrooms last year, up 8 percent. Agaricus mushrooms accounted for 64 percent of the mushrooms sold as certified organic, while all specialty mushrooms made up the remainder. The total certified organic sales of all mushrooms represent 3 percent of total mushroom sales. The number of certified organic mushroom growers totaled 56, up two growers from the previous season.

“Growers and shippers continue to face challenges of higher production costs, including raw materials, wages and energy,” Phelps said. “Knowing that they have a growing customer base may lead to investment in more production capacity.”