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What mushroom producers told UMDIS during Fruit Logistica in Berlin? (article 1 from 5)

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This post is also available in: English Russian Polish

Fruitlogistica is a large fair – 27 halls. Companies are situated by the countries – not by the industry. So, if you want to spend half a day visiting just mushroom companies – you may have a trouble as going just from hall 1 to hall 11 takes 30 minutes (not taking in consideration that you got lost, but actually you will 😊). So most our colleagues whom UMDIS Mushroom Information Agency asked – have scheduled the meetings in advance, we made the same.Usual exhibitors from our industry were Banken Champignons (NL), Limax (PL),  Gl Group (PL), Baltic Champs (LT), Ansław (PL), Korona (HU). Number of mushroom farms from Italy like Funghiitalia and Azienda Agricola Micologica De Biasi represented themselves as a part of collective booth. The same – Hungarian large mushroom producer Korona participated on the collective Hungarian booth.

– Next time we will definitely participate with our own booth. See, they have not changed the design from the previous years! We want to be modern, – tells us very energetic András Erős who deals with salles in Korona.

For our opinion by the way the booth was enough notable, with mushrooms lying everywhere – especially we liked small enoki in the front of the counter which made it look charming.

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There were also booths with large varieties of exotic mushrooms – owned by companies that sell exotics in Europe. Like German Niklas or Belgium Funghi Funghi. In Chinese hall UMDIS has found Qihe Biotech, the supplier of exotic mushroom substrate – which by the way have Exotic Mushroom Center – their representative in Poland that sells exotic mushrooms and substrate.

There were not many Polish exhibitors this year – actually Limax, GLGroup and Ansław. But as we see – the exhibition was going enough successful for them as they did not have time even to pose to make a photo. GLGroup is a large Polish cooperative which is located in the East of Poland and sells mushrooms everywhere. While Ansław is family owned, they have mushroom farm – but the largest business for them is to sell mushrooms – cultivated as well as forest – and also some fruits and vegetables.

Definitely the exhibition visited lots of mushroom producers – just without the booths.

– What mushroom producers look for here? – asked UMDIS some farms that we`ve met.

Krystian Sopiński from Polish farm Sopinscy laughed before answer:

-Other mushroom producers 😊 But really – we schedule the meeting with some clients here. So, we just go to some meetings in the same place. You know, in this fast world that is hard to meet each other especially if you live indifferent countries. The exhibition in Berlin is just a nice place to meet each other.

The cutes and I believe very sincere answer gave us Leslie Codd, the founder and owner of Codd Mushrooms in Ireland.

-Just to see other farms` packaging and think if I want such 😊 And also some suppliers offered me to meet here.

Speaking about equipment etc suppliers for mushroom industry – some of them were present with the booth, some of them just cached up with clients for some meeting. Great booth had Viscon as they supply equipment for proceeding different fruits, vegetables and mushrooms.

UMDIS agency asked Tomasz Krajewski from Viscon how large mushroom segment is for the company speaking about salles. For the whole Group it is less then 10% – but in salles in Poland and Eastern Europe it turns to 40%.

We met Adrian Kurowski from Agro-Projects, the supplier of turn-key solutions for mushroom industry, Tamara Flore from RibbStyle – supplier of coating for mushroom farms and compost yards.

Italy

During Fruit Logistica we spoke with the Director of Production and Sales of Fungidea from Italy – a large mushroom farm with a 50-year`s history Simona Ficarra. The usual yield for this farm (UMDIS just was curious to know it) is 25 kg per m2. The farm supplies mushrooms to the Italian domestic market, also to Spain, Israel.

-Our farm is here to meet new clients and new suppliers. Fungidea participates in this fair for 5 years. This time we don’t really like the place of the stand and there are fewer customers than last year, – shares Simona.This Italian farm produces mushrooms by itself and also buys some quantities of mushrooms from other farms. As they explain UMDIS – quantities they buy are very small compared to the whole volumes that farm produces in own facilities.

-Our goal is to find more customers who want to order packaged mushrooms, – continues Simona. Speaking about clients that we look for – I prefer to sell mushrooms to the wholesaler companies in Italy and other countries. And I definitely do not want to sell in big boxes – the best client for me is who orders large quantity of mushrooms in punnets because we get larger margin on them.

It looks like the farm has no problems with packing mushrooms, additional labor needed for it, packaging lines or additional costs for labels and punnets. That is completely another way of thinking that we have heard during the fair from Sopinscy Polish farm or Baltic Champs Lithuanian farm. However that is enough similar to what Banken Champignons told us – that all mushrooms they sell to food retail are sold in packaging.

 Spain

In hall 10 UMDIS agency found Spanish important player in mushroom sector. That was interesting to get know from Neofungi – largest producer of fresh mushrooms in Spain – that Spain now tries to conquer new markets. Neofungi is a marketing cooperative that sells mushrooms of two big Spanish cooperatives of mushroom producers. They have own laboratory, own compost plant, own plant for recycling of compost, own trucks.

-For us it is important to participate in this fair becauses we have customers and potential customers in the North of Europe, – tells UMDIS Sergio Saniago, Sales Director of Neofungi. – Being Spanish producer, it is difficult to bring mushrooms in this region as there are many other suppliers as Poland or Netherland. But consumers in those regions demand more mushrooms nowadays – and we have enough quality, so those markets are promising for us.

Neofungi` main markets are Spanish domestic market, Portugal, France, Italy and Morocco. Per week they sell 400 tons of mushrooms. Like 50:50 to the retail and to the wholesalers.

-How can you compete with Polish prices for mushrooms while selling to export?, – askes UMDIS.

-We are far away with the price. So, we try to compete with giving the best quality and longer shelf life. We do sell the best mushrooms.

-But Polish mushroom farm give enough good quality as we know. What you do to surpass them?

-We grow less kilo per m3 – that gives us a head start, – smiles Sergio.

One of UMDIS`s growers Iurie Boiciuc who regularly consults on technology some Spanish producers producers tells:

-In Spain really part of mushrooms is produced in export quality. But there is one thing. I often see gorgeous quality mushrooms – but dirty and with nail mark, scratch as the result of picking. If to improve the picking technique and to implement the technique of one-touch Spain can produce really good mushrooms to export, – tells Iurie Boiciuc.

Kosovo

On the joint booth of Kosovo UMDIS agency found Fungo – that is a button mushroom farm from Kosovo as well as exporter of wild mushrooms as boletus, chantarelle and morels.

-We sell our button mushrooms just in Kosovo. And wild mushrooms we don`t sell in Kosovo at all – just collect, proceed, and send to Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Lithuania, Netherlands, Austria, Denmark even USA. We are family business, here is my farther, he is the founder and grower in our farm. And here is me, I deal with sales, – tells Ardit Krasniqi from Fungo.

Champignon farm of Fungo produces 1 ton per day, nearly 350 tones of button mushrooms per year. That is the largest commercial button mushroom producer in the country. Now the company is doubling its capacity, looking for new racks.

The yield of the farm is 42% of compost. Ardit and his farther showed UMDIS some videos where we can see good quality mushrooms grown on the modern racks. Usual Dutch technology.

Nota bene

During the exhibition we asked German cooperation of producers Pilzland and Italian mushroom producer Fungidea how hard for them is to compete with cheaper Polish mushrooms. And received the same answers: “For our country that is not a problem. As our citizens prefer products that are grown in our country as they think they have much traceability and quality”.

Italian farm also showed us the brochure which Italian producers make as a part of promotional program of Italian mushrooms. You can read more here: MiPulia https://www.mipulia.it/en/ Something similar also have Germans – you can investigate Pilzland website: https://www.pilzland.de/

UMDIS asked German as well as Italian farm what can be the difference between Polish and local mushroom per kilogram that people still prefer to buy local mushrooms. We got the answer that as for German farm – it can be near 30 cents, as for Italian – half of Euro speaking about wholesale price.

That is the first article on UMDIS about Fruit Logistica 2023. Soon you can read 4 more publications including interviews with large mushroom producers and wholesale companies.

If you are mushroom producer/supplier, you was on Fruit Logisitca – and UMDIS did not find you there so did not include in this article – sorry ☹ You can contact us and we can make a special article about you: inna.ustilovskaja@gmail.com.

That is the first article on UMDIS about Fruit Logistica 2023. Soon you can read 4 more publications including interviews with large mushroom producers and wholesale companies.

If you are mushroom producer/supplier, you was on Fruit Logisitca – and UMDIS did not find you there so did not include in this article – sorry You can contact us and we can make a special article about you: inna.ustilovskaja@gmail.com.

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