Sales of mushrooms reach an all-time high with UK consumers spending more than £365 million (+3.8%) a year on the vegetable, according to data* released today. Supermarkets are intensifying supplies as head of households learn that the versatility of the vegetable in dishes adds depth and flavour to the family’s meal-time repertoire.
Quickly climbing the UK’s list of 10 best-selling vegetables, mushrooms now rank third after potatoes (No.1) and tomatoes (No.2) with roughly 118,000 tonnes of mushrooms having been sold in the last year. Despite button and closed cup mushrooms dominating the market, Brits’ preferred fungi are brown and chestnut mushrooms (+19.3%) when it comes to a trolley dash around the vegetable aisle.
Families are the key contributors to British sales with 26.2% of the category coming from this demographic. Almost a fifth of British buyers are under 35 (18.2%) and over 45’s make up nearly two-thirds of buyers (63.2%). The pre-sliced mushroom category is rapidly expanding with sales up by 23.4% – suggesting lazy cooks are laying down their knives and opting for this convenient way of speeding up meal preparation.
A spokesperson for the Mushroom Bureau, said: “The mushroom sector is thriving with consumers spending almost £1m a day. Mushrooms are such a valuable ingredient. The many varieties provide unique and impressive flavours, not to mention a fantastic texture which compliments most savoury cuisines.”
And if the taste temptations of mushrooms aren’t enough to lure consumers, then consider the health benefits as the vegetable has so many B vitamins they could make a tomato blush.
Dr Christian Jessen, explains: “Mushrooms are an excellent source of B vitamins which are needed for a healthy diet and an 80g serving counts towards one of your five a day.”
“The vegetable is a great source of selenium – one of the many vitamins and minerals that help strengthen the immune system to protect against coughs, colds and flu.”
Avid fans of mushrooms include celebrities such as Emmerdale and Waterloo Road star, Roxanne Pallett, plus Kelly Osbourne, who both claim to have lost dress sizes from eating raw mushrooms regularly. Even popstar Katy Perry eats a diet heavy in mushrooms to keep her slender figure.
“Mushrooms are especially good for anyone trying to lose weight given they are exceptionally low in calories and fat. Plus, the high levels of dietary fibre in the vegetable leaves you feeling satisfied for longer”, continues Dr Jessen.
October has been dubbed ‘Month of Mushrooms’ to encourage consumers to eat more of the little beauties. Although mushrooms are available and tasty all year round, the vegetable suits popular autumnal dishes such as casseroles, stews and pies of which the nation will be thinking of mastering such culinary delights in preparation for the winter ahead.
*Data and statistics taken from Kantar World Panel, September 2012.
**Data supplied by Aimia, September 2012.