Mushroom production is growing in terms of volume and value, inspired by a surge in consumer demand, say Bord Bia executives.
Bord Bia estimates the combined North and South mushroom production has a farm gate value of €173m.
UK mushroom production is worth around £115m at farm gate level. Up to 80% of Irish mushroom production is sold on the export market.
Michal Slawski, Bord Bia development and marketing specialist, said: “The UK and Irish mushroom markets are showing steady growth, both in volume and in value. The UK market in particular is performing very well compared to the vegetable category as a whole.
"Mushrooms are growing in both value and volume, while vegetables are growing in volume but declining in price.”
Mr Slawski was speaking ahead of today’s All Ireland and UK Mushroom Conference and Trade Show in Monaghan. Bord Bia reports that mushroom sales remain steady in Ireland and the UK, Ireland’s top export market.
“The €2.7m three-year EU co-sponsored mushroom promotion in the UK and Ireland helps play its part by increasing sales in the target audience,” said Mr Slawski.
“The number of UK households buying mushrooms has increased by 600,000 and the proportion of households aged under 34 who buy mushrooms has increased by one third in the three years of the More to Mushrooms, and the following first two years of the Just Add Mushrooms campaign.”
Today’s event, themed ‘Harnessing Innovation’, is to be opened by Tom Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, responsible for horticulture.
Mr Hayes said mushrooms account for almost 50% of the value of Ireland’s edible horticultural output. The strong export focus and high employment levels add further to the sector’s contribution to the Irish economy and especially the rural economy, he said.
Dermot Callaghan who is head of both horticulture at Teagasc and the conference’s organising committee added, “This year’s conference theme, ‘Harnessing Innovation’, reflects the progressive and innovative culture in the mushroom industry where entrepreneurial producers grasp every opportunity to increase efficiencies and maximise profits.”
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