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AMI reports inflation slowing mushroom sales, but demand still strong

Avondale, PA, May 25, 2022— In the first three months of 2022, retail sales of fresh mushrooms reached $343 million, down 5.8% from the first quarter of 2021, according to IRI/210 Analytics data, the American Mushroom Institute BB #:162412 reported today.

Mushrooms are not immune to the undercurrent of inflation, however, while the retail price per pound for fresh mushrooms increased 4.9% over the first quarter of 2022, the category remained below average total produce inflation, where prices increased nearly 10% during the first quarter of 2022 versus 2021.

The demand for mushrooms has been and continues to be strong. Consumers are looking to mushrooms as a value not only for their health benefits, but also as a way to enhance taste and extend dishes, especially at a time when every dollar counts.

“Consumers recognize that mushrooms are a force multiplier in their budget, for their health, and in taste,” explained Rachel Roberts, President, American Mushroom Institute. “Take for example, The Blend, the concept of chopping mushrooms and combining them to your favorite ground meat. The mushrooms add an umami flavor to burgers, taco meat, etc., provide a slew of vitamins to dishes, and with added volume, can extend staples such as a pound of ground beef, meatloaf, etc.”

At the same time, U.S. mushroom growers are working harder than ever to keep pace with demand. Increases in transportation and supply chain costs over the past six months have had exponential impacts on mushroom farms. Mushrooms are unique.

Unlike other segments of produce, mushroom growers create the material in which mushrooms grow four to five times a year, and that material can include upwards of 30 different ingredients. Growers source these materials from other farms, which increase overall growing costs. Mushrooms farms also face a consistent labor shortage, operating sometimes with a nearly 25% reduction in optimal workforce.

While mushroom farms are working hard—24/7—to keep up with demand, the combined effect of supply chain disruptions and the popularity of mushrooms have resulted in tight supply, impacting mushroom promotional levels, which are down for the third year in a row.

Twenty-seven percent of all retail vegetable pounds were sold while on promotion year-to-date, yet only 17% of mushroom pounds were. While vegetables altogether are promoting slightly more at retail this year, mushroom promoted levels continue to fall.

Despite challenges, foodservice is experiencing a much-needed recovery from the start of the pandemic.

Independent foodservice operators—defined by one to two locations and representing 53% of total restaurants in the U.S.—increased cases of food and supplies ordered from leading broadline distributors by 27% in the 12 months ending March 2022, compared to the same period a year ago, which is 5% above the pre-pandemic level in the period ending March 2019, according to NPD Group, a leading consumer and retail data information firm.

Fresh mushroom foodservice sales are estimated up 8% over the first two months of the year, according to Mushroom Council shipment reports. Some of the increase can be explained by the proliferation of third-party delivery services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats, along with people’s desire to get out again post pandemic, causing the eat-in segment to come back at or above pre-pandemic levels.

About AMI
The American Mushroom Institute (AMI), headquartered in Avondale, Pennsylvania, is a national voluntary trade association representing the growers, processors, and marketers of cultivated mushrooms in the United States and industry suppliers worldwide. For more information, visit www.americanmushroom.org