Mushrooms are spongy, fleshy, porous, and fruity parts of a fungus, and are mostly grouped as vegetables. Due to increased recognition of its medicinal and nutritional values, coupled with the realization of the income generating potential of fungi through trade, the demand for mushrooms has been on the rise.
Mushrooms are gaining popularity among health-conscious consumers. The global market for mushrooms was valued at $29,427.92 million in 2013. This market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% from 2014 to reach $50,034.12 million by 2019. Europe dominated the market in 2013, and is projected to be the fastest-growing market for mushrooms between 2014 and 2019, followed by the Asia-Pacific region.
Today, mushrooms remain among the world’s most in-demand crops, in part due to the particular conditions and often cumbersome processes required for their cultivation. Although relatively little land, capital, and labor is required to begin farming mushrooms, industrial production is notoriously difficult to maintain.
Though mushrooms remain especially difficult to cultivate, producers have recently found some success in mushroom cultivation. But despite these improvements, the prices of specialty mushrooms are still quickly outstripping inflation in most countries, suggesting that demand has yet to be satiated. Given the inflated prices of the highly-valued crops and the recent yet minor successes in scaling their production, specialization appears the place to be for fungi farmers going forward.