Exotic mushroom varieties drive the plant-based revolution, says Tesco
Demand is soaring for two obscure mushroom varieties that are taking the UK’s plant-based market by storm, the retailer highlights
28 Jan 2020 --- Sales for Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms have soared by almost 240 percent, because of their meat-like texture, UK retailer Tesco has revealed. They are also two of the key vegetables behind the supermarket’s exclusive, Wicked Kitchen vegan food range. The mushroom boom comes amid massive growth in plant-based ingredients, as more consumers are opting for foods that aren’t animal-derived.
In line with the number two trend from Innova Market Insights for this year – “Plant-Based Revolution” – Tesco has noted a major shift in the plant-based arena. The market researcher highlights a 68 percent average annual growth in food and beverage launches with a “plant-based” claim (Global, CAGR 2014 to 2018).
As a direct result of the rising demand, the Brown Oyster Cluster mushrooms are now being commercially grown in the UK by Lancashire producer Smithy Mushrooms. Plans are also already underway for the company to start growing the King Oyster variety later this year.
The growing popularity of the mushrooms has been helped by the online recipes of Tesco’s plant-based food guru Derek Sarno, Tesco’s Director of Plant-based Innovation, who created the Wicked Kitchen and Plant Chef ranges.
“Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms offer such a meaty texture and versatility that they can be adapted to replicate just about any meat dish making them the perfect ingredient for plant-based cooking,” says Sarno.
“They’re delicious on their own but the mild flavors and fibrous consistency easily absorbs whatever herbs, spice blends or sauces you choose to use – from Texan BBQ, Indian, Pan-Asian to classic British comfort foods,” he continues. “Due to their incredible taste and versatility, they have become a cornerstone of my recipes.”
Sarno says that some of his best Wicked Kitchen recipes use Oyster mushrooms as the key alternative in classic dishes such as Pulled “Pork” Sandwiches; Cheeky Tikka; Asian BBQ “Steak”; Teriyaki Skewers; Chick’n’Noodle Ramen; Hoisin BBQ Shreds and King Oyster Mushroom Scallops.
John Dorrian, Managing Director of Smithy Mushrooms, based in Ormskirk, Lancashire, says that the demand for the Brown and King Oyster mushrooms has been overwhelming and has necessitated the need to expand. “The plant-based food revolution has had a major impact on sales and we are already at the planning stage for a new purpose-built farm which will allow us to grow more of these specialist varieties used in vegan cooking,” he says.
“We’ve been growing Oyster mushrooms here for 25 years but have never had demand like we’re seeing now,” Dorrian highlights.
“They are incredibly versatile and can be shredded to replicate pulled pork; thinly sliced to make kebab skewers and even sliced to make scallops that are indistinguishable from the meat variety,” he adds.
Edited by Elizabeth Green
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