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Mushroom Council finds optimism in retail data

mushrooms33 Consumer purchases of mushrooms at retail continues to outpace overall produce sales increases, giving the Mushroom Council optimism that mushrooms will rebound at foodservice when restaurants begin to reopen.

Data from IRI show strong mushroom retail sales increases throughout March, as consumers stockpiled grocery purchases while social distancing measures began taking effect. In each of the last three weeks of March, year-over-year mushroom sales outpaced overall produce sales increases:

* Week ending March 29: fresh mushroom sales increased 18%, compared to all fresh produce increasing 8.1 percent.

* Week ending March 22: fresh mushrooms increased 31.4 percent, while fresh produce increased 29.7 percent.

* Week ending March 15: fresh mushrooms at 35.1 percent, fresh produce at 34.5 percent.

Mushroom increases were in the company of other top performing staples like potatoes, tomatoes, apples, oranges, onions and carrots, noted Bart Minor, president of the Mushroom Council.

“While the impact of the health crisis is staggering to the foodservice industry, this retail sales data demonstrates that fresh mushrooms continue to climb up the staple scale,” said Minor. “Prior to the crisis reaching the U.S., our industry was riding tremendous momentum. Our monthly shipping reports revealed a run of record highs in late 2019, driven in part by high demand in the foodservice channel. December volume exceeded 90 million pounds, the first time that has occurred.

“By January, media placed mushrooms in their top 2020 top food trend forecasts in more than 50 articles,” Minor added. “In February, CNN took notice and declared mushrooms the ‘new grocery aisle celebrities.

“Now, this IRI data shows promise that mushroom momentum will continue in the channels where they are available and will likely be in high demand once the foodservice channel begins to recover,” Minor concluded. “Our supply is strong and stable. As consumers stock up on groceries and pivot to home cooking, they are considering mushrooms not just a nutritious, delicious and sustainable ingredient, but an important staple.”

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