The UK mushroom market is showing strong sales at the moment. Sales up to the Christmas week were up and down but overall figures were as expected according to James Meers, Commercial Director at G’s Fresh.
“I think people shopped early this year, so the sales didn’t happen as we expected but the volume was as predicted,” he explained.
“It was not down to panic buying when we went into lockdown again, but people are now shopping less often and buying bigger packs," he continued. "We also have Veganuary, so people are eating less meat and substituting with mushrooms. There is also a new trend – reducetarian, simply reducing the amount of meat eaten, this has really taken off, which has a big influence on mushroom sales.”
In the first lockdown in March last year James said mushroom consumption rose by 30%, it then reduced by 15% in the summer, but now year on year sales are up by 45%.
“Vitamin D is now becoming more widely thought to limit the severity of Covid and we have seen a huge increase in chestnut mushrooms which contain the vitamin,” he added.
G’s Fresh has a large mushroom production in Europe, so the news of a tariff-free deal was very welcome.
"Everything must be right first time and you can’t make last minute changes and there is no room for errors"
“We put a lot of effort and resources into ensuring a continued supply after January 1st and things are going very well. It has been a lot of work and taken a lot of time to ensure the paperwork is always correct for imports and exports.
"The process is now very inflexible, everything must be right first time and you can’t make last minute changes and there is no room for errors, so planning ahead is very important," he continued.
"The fresh produce trade is very fast moving. Although the UK is waiving certain checks on imports for the first half of 2021, we have made sure we have all the necessary paperwork in place so that come July when the new import regulations will be fully enforced we have everything right.
“It is the biggest single change in the way of working that we have seen in decades.”
The future supply of labour is still up in the air for G's mushroom business and as such continues to be a real threat to the continued success of the UK mushroom industry as a whole.
“It is still a massive concern; we are now working at an industry level together with The Mushroom Grower’s Association to raise concerns about labour supply,” James concluded.