“This trend is heading to the U.S., and in the years ahead we will see increased popularity of specialty mushrooms,” he said.
The industry has made some advances with the maitake variety, said Fred Recchiuti, general manager at Basciani Foods Inc., Avondale.
“Maitakes used to be only available seasonally from the wild,” he said, making food safety controls difficult. But that has changed.
“As an industry, we’ve been able to develop techniques to grow them year-round in sanitary conditions,” he said. “Chefs now have the power, for the first time in culinary history, to use maitakes on flagship menu items year-round.”
Only small quantities of maitakes are available, Schroeder said.
They aren’t big sellers, and there is so much shrink that they’re typically sold only by specialty stores.
“We’re not seeing a lot of new varieties coming out,” Schroeder said.
Instead, most of the advances in the category likely will be in new packaging or new features, like adding vitamin D to existing varieties, he said.