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Mother Earth continues to expand

By
Keith Loria

Mother Earth LLC, a fifth-generation company, operates 53 growing houses throughout southern Chester County in West Grove, Oxford, and Landenberg, PA, remaining a big player in the organic mushroom industry.

As the calendar turned to 2022, the company was employing a winning strategy for attracting business.

“We are anticipating increased organic mushroom volume as many consumers make New Year’s resolutions to obtain and sustain a healthy lifestyle utilizing the foods they eat,” said Mark Kreiner, outside sales coordinator for the company. “Therefore, we are stabilizing and increasing the number of employees at our farms to harvest and pack our mushrooms.”

As part of that strategy, Mother Earth is also looking at expanded growth through its partnerships with organic and plant-based home meal kit delivery enterprises.

Over the past year, the company has seen a rise in both household penetration and repeat usage among all age groups as the price gap between conventional and organic shrinks.

“One of the halo effects of the pandemic is that many consumers reevaluated the foods they had been consuming and how they were preparing them in light of obtaining and sustaining a healthier lifestyle,” Kreiner said. “With consumers gravitating to less processed foods and more natural foods or cleaner foods, they transitioned over to organic products to meet their needs.”

Mother Earth continues to grow and has expanded its geographical reach moving westward.

“We have developed customized promotional and marketing programs for retailers to grow their organic mushroom volume,” Kreiner said. “We are expanding our presence in social media to share the benefits of consuming mushrooms throughout the day to lead a healthier lifestyle. We continue to exhibit nationally at all of the key organic produce shows.”

Of course, there are challenges that the company faces, such as continued rising input costs across the board involving growing, packing and shipping; ensuring the company maintains a supply of quality compost/substrates and peat moss; and sourcing and retaining laborers at the farms and packing houses.

“We saw COVID-19 related work stoppages and issues regarding our work force across all operational silos,” Kreiner said. “We will continue to supply our customers in full and on time the best we can during these unprecedented and challenging times.”

Still, none of this is stopping the company from continued growth and expansion of national and regional natural food stores and Whole Foods stores.

“Many retailers are looking at transitioning the fresh mushroom category over to 100=percent organic,” Kreiner said. “We’re also seeing continued growth and expansion of restaurants utilizing only natural/whole/organic foods and the expansion of home meal delivery companies using only natural/whole/organic/plant-based foods.”

In 2022, the company is expanding its larger-sized Mother Earth Organic Mushroom offerings, as new products include 16-ounce Whole White and 16-ounce Slice White; 16-ounce Whole Baby Bella and 16-ounce Sliced Baby Bella; and 24-ounce Whole White and 24-ounce Whole Baby Bella.

Additionally, Mother Earth is adding new, kosher-approved and gluten-free shout outs/certifications to its package labeling.

“We are making ongoing continuous improvements with our farms, equipment and systems,” Kreiner said. “We evaluate with a keen eye all new supply opportunities in light of ensuring that all current customers will continue to be supplied in full if new business is added.”

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