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The Mushroom Cloud: A market explosive that is yet to be ignited

With the introduction of new forms of mushrooms for mass production, the global mushroom industry has expanded steadily in th

Since earlier times, many recognized species of fungi have played a major global role in human food and medicine. Some estimate that over 2,300 species are the total number of useful fungi, described as having edible and medicinal value. While this contribution has traditionally been made by collecting wild edible fungi, there is an increasing interest in supplementing or replacing wild harvest in cultivation (1). This is due to the increased awareness of many plants’ nutritional value, combined with the realization through the trade of fungi’ revenue-generating capacity. Furthermore, where knowledge of wild fungi is not passed on within families or through cultures, individuals have become more hesitant to collect wild fungi and instead tend to grow mushrooms.

Across the globe, harvested mushrooms are now becoming mainstream. There are over 200 genera of macrofungi that include organisms that are used by humans. Twelve species are commonly grown in tropical materials for food and medicinal purposes, and fungi can be created in temporary clean shelters (2). On a part-time basis, they can be cultivated and need minimal maintenance. Indirectly, mushrooms’ production often offers opportunities to enhance small farming systems’ sustainability by recycling organic matter that can be used as a growing substrate and then returned as fertilizer to the land (3). Efficient cultivation and trade in mushrooms can enhance livelihood assets by providing income and improved nutrition, which can reduce vulnerability to shocks and increase people’s ability and a group to act on other economic opportunities.

Growth of the Mushroom Industry: Globalization

The United States, comprising the developed countries, will sustain a growth momentum of 6 percent. Within Europe, which remains an essential component of the world economy, Germany will add more than 1 trillion dollars to the region’s size and impact over the next 5 to 6 years. Over 867 million dollars in estimated demand in the region would come from markets in the rest of Europe. By the end of the study era, Button mushrooms would hit a market size of 1.7 billion dollars in Japan (4). As the world’s second-largest economy and the next game-changer in global markets, China has the potential to expand by 11.6 percent over the next few years and add around 8 trillion dollars (5) in terms of addressable opportunities for aspiring companies and their clever leaders to pick up. These and many more informative and quantitative data are provided in visually rich graphics crucial in ensuring strategy decisions’ consistency, be it entries of new companies into the market, or allocating capital within a portfolio.

Asia-Pacific had the highest market share in 2015 and is projected to rise in the projected timeline faster. The mushroom market growth in that area is adequate for some factors, such as higher mushroom consumption rates in China, India, and Japan (6). By 2015, Europe had the largest market share in the market for mushrooms. Because of the high demand for organic food from the end consumer sector, Europe accounted for mushrooms’ largest production and processing area (7). Due to the rising demand for processed food, North America is experiencing high growth. Because of mushrooms in various food items for great taste and aroma, Latin America has a major stake in developing the mushroom industry. Because of ample resources and favorable conditions, the Middle East and Africa are likely to experience decent growth in the forecast era (8).

In the United States, the specialty mushroom industry is still extremely new. Shiitake mushrooms (9) were the first commercially grown specialty mushrooms in the United States. On hardwood oak, they were first grown on. In the 1980s, logs and supermarkets were sold.

Just one species of Agaricus bisporus (10) was cultivated and sold to the public before that time. Ostrom Farm, based in Washington state, was a farm that was a pioneer in the introduction of specialty mushrooms in the United States. They started producing oyster mushrooms (11) on straw, shiitake mushrooms on logs, and enoki mushrooms in the bottle culture aid. Demand for specialty mushrooms is growing rapidly, as customers are looking to buy more organic, nutritious, and medicinal foods. The consumption rate in the United States of all mushroom species was just 0.8 pounds. Around the years between 1978 to 1997, 4 pounds was the norm (12).

With expected revenues of 35 billion by 2024, the operational mushroom industry is progressively expanding, up around 20 billion in 2018. According to research and industry forecasts, the estimated CAGR (13), also known as the compound annual growth rate, has risen over the past year. It was estimated that the market is projected to expand at a rate of 7 percent in 2018, while an expected 9 percent rise was reported in 2019. US mushroom farms will tap into this market more heavily as customers become more knowledgeable about their mushroom supplements. Consumers are likely to want to switch away from international supplements and mycelial based products. This positions American mushroom farms to sell value-added products to the incredibly fast-growing demand for edible mushrooms (14).

The emergence of the Mushroom market in India

With the introduction of new forms of mushrooms for mass production, the global mushroom industry has expanded steadily in the last twenty years. However, among Indian customers, mushroom as a vegetable has yet to find a regular spot. Despite the favorable agro-climate, the abundance of agro-waste, the relatively low-cost labor force, and the rich biodiversity of fungi, India has experienced a lukewarm growth response. At present, the total production of mushrooms is approximately 0.2 million tonnes in India. The mushroom industry reported a growth rate of 5 percent in India from 2010-2017 (15). White button mushroom is 73 percent of the total produced mushroom, followed by the oyster mushroom, which was at 15 percent, paddy straw mushroom, 6.94 percent, and milky mushroom, which was at 4.78 percent. Compared to other vegetables, the per capita intake of mushrooms in India is low, suggesting less than 100 grams per year.

Just as mushrooms’ consumption and production are rising throughout the rest of the globe, India is experiencing an ambivalent reaction to its growth. In India, the mushroom industry focuses heavily on the white button mushroom, a highly sophisticated and capital-intensive operation (16). There are two major types of mushroom growers in India, those who grow white button mushrooms under controlled conditions during the year and seasonal growers who grow button mushrooms in the northwestern part of India during the winter seasons. The total white button mushroom produced in India is estimated at 95000 metric tonnes from seasonal and high-tech cultivation units. The seasonal growing units located in Haryana and Punjab produced around 8000 metric tonnes of button mushroom (17).

There are five species of mushrooms in India which are, for example, white button mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, paddy straw mushrooms (18), milky mushrooms (19), and commercially cultivated shiitake mushrooms (20). While several exotic forms of cultivation technologies were standardized, Agaricus bisporus, Pleurotus spp, still dominates the commercial markets. And Volvariella volvacea. And volvacea. These three mushrooms contribute approximately 96 percent of all Indian mushrooms. Milky mushroom (Calocybe India) is a country’s indigenous tropical champion, but commercial cultivation is restricted exclusively to southern Indian countries, contributing up to 3 percent of total mushroom production. In Odisha and Chhattisgarh’s states, paddy straw mushroom production became more common, and its total mushroom output was 7 percent (21).

Marketing and development of the product

Cultivating mushrooms is an effective and stable way to make nutritionally balanced food in a short period from poor farming resources. It also allows you to generate a highly tradable commodity that contributes to the generation of income. But as a result of the poor marketing strategy, most farmers do not gain profits from their production. Mushroom marketing has not been organized in India yet. It has its limitations, the simple direct sales system by manufacturers to retailers or even consumers. Also, their marketing problems were exacerbated by the production of mushrooms, mainly seasonal. In winter, reports of gluts have been common in the north of India, forcing the mushroom to be sold in distress. This would be counterproductive in strengthening the effort to increase production without solving marketing problems.

India isn’t a major producer of any mushroom varieties, but it grows all edible and medicinal mushrooms in both parts because of its varying climatic conditions. India has a good combination of the technical and non-technical staff necessary for the pilgrimage business. The production of mushrooms is based on recycling enormous quantities of agricultural residue in all corners of the country. The second biggest contributor to today’s global warming is Black carbon emissions from burning biomass(22). Currently, the regions with the Indian rice-wheat cultivation system have to deal with the mounting crop residues. Mushroom farming can effectively use these agro-residues to produce protein-rich food and has a vital role in managing these agro-residues.

The Future of such an Industry

Despite the shift in the present, processed foods are still not market-driven, and fresh vegetables and fruits are essentially preferred. The cultivation of white button mushrooms is restricted to a few commercial units during the whole year under controlled conditions. It is carried out at a rate of 30 to 40 percent of production under natural conditions(23). Fresh mushrooms have a very narrow shelf life and can’t be transported to long distances without a cooled conveyor facility. In two to three winter months between December to February, all marketing issues are encountered when over 75% of annual production is sold in a short duration and a market area. Farmers are exposed to the effects of excessive saturation and forced to sell their goods at extremely lower prices. Instead of coming to the rescue, private distributors appear to take advantage of the situation.

Mushroom biodiversity is another gem that India is not using for medicinal or edible purposes. It is the native biodiversity of mushrooms. For example, the button mushroom favoritism in India turns out to be a tragedy for other forms, including native oysters, milky, paddy paw mushrooms, and so on. The efficiency in the control of international spores, etc. into India, of our national biodiversity laws, is a further concern. The market for manufactured and fast foods will be strong in the coming years. In the off-season and non-production regions, mushrooms can be canned to satisfy demand. Diversification of the commodity should be checked, too. Concerning sales and exports of canned mushrooms, significant consideration needs to be taken to reduce the cost of production and processing of mushrooms to compete on the international market. Since India itself is a large market, strong marketing activities are needed to make people aware of mushrooms, helping grow the market itself in India. The Chinese mushroom industry has flourished because they eat more than 80 percent of the mushrooms it makes. The reality cannot be denied that mushroom production, especially the white button mushroom, has been growing in India in recent years, but its marketing problems have also escalated.