“I would expect to see prices move up even as the industry struggles to meet the projected demand for the holiday season,” Caldwell said.
Meanwhile, business is “terrific” at Gourmet Mushrooms Inc., Sebastopol, Calif., said Meg Hill, director of sales and marketing.
Sales are up compared with last year, have doubled over the past five years, and could double again, she said.
She attributes the sales burst to consumers discovering the savory quality of the firm’s gourmet mushrooms, along with the Mushroom Council’s “swapability” program, in which chefs or homemakers swap mushrooms for meat as they prepare meals.
The best may be yet to come, she said, since the third and fourth quarters typically are the company’s strongest sales periods.
The good news for the mushroom industry is that demand continues to increase, especially for the brown or crimini varieties, said Bill St. John, sales and transportation manager for Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farms Inc., Gonzales, Texas.
The bad news is that prices are remaining stable or even dropping at a time when the costs of compost, wheat straw, packaging and personnel are on the rise and “a real concern,” he said.