It’s the start of the French mushroom season and a lot of imported mushrooms can still be found on the shelves. “In recent years, there was a shortage of French mushrooms on the market, especially around the Christmas holidays,” says Chris Chamballu of France Champignon. “Large retailers and wholesalers have faced many shortages. In order to avoid shortages, they have created lines open to imports all year round: even at the start of the season, when normally French mushrooms are plentiful.
At the same time, the production costs of French mushrooms are increasing. “The prices of energy, in particular gas, have risen sharply. However, these are essential for mushroom production in order to control temperatures. The ban on plastic trays represents additional costs. Given all of this, we will be faced with an inflationary environment with rising prices.
It is difficult to estimate whether the end consumer is willing to pay the price. “We cannot have prices too far from those of Polish and Dutch mushrooms. If Poland has the same inflation rate as France, then everything will be fine. Otherwise, the difference will be too great. You have to find a good sales dynamic to be able to compete with imports. Otherwise, imported mushrooms will take over. We can already observe the first examples. The mushrooms marketed under Leclerc’s own brand, “Notre Jardin”, come from the Netherlands (500g trays).
In order to encourage the end consumer to buy French mushrooms, France Champignon is playing the terroir card. “Our mushrooms are labeled ‘Products in Anjou’. This label promotes regional businesses. We specialize in blond mushrooms.