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Mushroom business in US: wooden/ aluminium shelves, Phase 2/3, prices, tendencies


This post is also available in: English Russian Polish

In the end of February UMDIS Mushroom Agency had a tour to US.

For already 4-5 years in US mushroom farms do not really build rooms on wooden racks. As soon as they invest – they usually build facilities with aluminium shelving. Yes probably with wooden platforms – but metal shelving.

Now nearly 30% of mushrooms in Kennett Square are already grown on aluminium shelving. The largest players on American mushroom market – Monterey, Georgi and South Mill – have too many old facilities with wooden shelves and that’s of course very complicated for them to renovate such huge farms. So the tendency now is like the smaller mushroom farms are the drivers of change to Dutch style growing.


Most of mushroom in US are grown on Phase 2 compost – and it is going be like this in following 10 years. Hovewer the share of Phase 3 will definitely grow up.
The number of mushroom farms in US is decreasing due to the same reason as everywhere in the world. For smaller farms is hard to compete with larger ones who are more effective and whose production cost is lower.
In 1960-1970 years – a bit less than 500 mushroom farms operated in US. While now nearly 60 farms in Kennett Square plus around 15 farms in other regions of US remain. (To be accurate here – we count the farms of one company as one farm, even if they are in different states).

In America nowadays it is turning to the rule: you just cannot be effective and survive if you sell mushrooms to the middle men. Because you loose costs here. While the margin is too small now – you cannot afford this. Most of mushroom farms in US years by years were selling mushrooms to middle men, so those who were not able to adaptate to the new reality just were forced to stop.
By the way – generally the situation in Canada now looks better with prices for mushrooms than in US. For the reason that farms in Canada are used to sell to retail and other clients by themselves – not to the middle men. It makes them be more competitive.

Maybe it should not be said loudly – but as UMDIS Mushroom Agency was talking with American and Canadian mushroom producers – it looks like the competition between them is growing. One mushroom producer from US exclaimed: “I just cannot understand why if they banned import from Europe – they cannot ban or make additional taxies for import from Canada!”. Another Canadian mushroom producer tells: “They produce too many mushrooms in US now. I tell this because I am from the other side, I am from Canada, and US used to be my market”. The only what can be said here – yes, definitely in US now there is no deficit of mushrooms at all.

The second largest state in US producing mushrooms is California. One mushroom producer from there told UMDIS “We started to write on our mushrooms – Made in California”. So – the same like it is being done for example in UK, Ireland, Germany nowadays. He tells it is being done not to compete with mushroom producers from Pensylvania – but with imported mushrooms on the fresh market.
The farm gate price now in Kennett Square is in between 1 dollar and 1.1 dollar per pound (453 gramm) of fresh mushrooms. In Canada mushroom growers usually get more per pound.
Remarkable – nearly 80% of mushrooms produced in US go to retail, and nearly 20% to food service. Hovewer now the share of food service increases.

According to UMDIS` American friends in mushroom business – now a bit less people have tandency to have lunch in the restaurants – hovewer much much more people are having dinner there. To compare with some years ago. And that explains why food service share for mushrooms increases as well.

Nota bene: Did you know that most of mushroom producers in Kennett Square have Italian origin? Everything started here – in the Mushroom Capital of the world – with some Italian men who started to grow mushrooms in that area, liked it – and adviced to hundreds of their friends to go into such a good business.

Thank you for all help in America to David Iaconi, owner of Mushroom Supply and Services company – American provider of all ranges of products for mushroom business: head filling machines, shelving, computers, supplements, casing, spawn etc.

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