Demand for plant-based food in the UK has led to a huge increase in sales of two kinds of mushrooms with a meat-like texture.
According to Tesco, sales of Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms have risen by almost 240%. Both are key ingredients in the supermarket’s Wicked Kitchen vegan food range.
In order to keep up with demand, the Brown Oyster Cluster mushrooms are now being commercially grown in the UK by specialist Lancashire producer Smithy Mushrooms. The supermarket added that plans are already underway for the company to start growing the King Oyster variety later this year.
“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,” said Derek Sarno, Tesco’s Director of Plant-based Innovation and creator of the Wicked Kitchen and Plant Chef ranges.
“They’re delicious on their own but the mild flavours 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.
“I’ve been working with them for many years and thanks to their incredible taste and versatility they have become a cornerstone of my recipes.”
John Dorrian, Managing Director of Smithy Mushrooms in Lancashire, says 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 allows us to grow more of these specialist varieties used in vegan cooking,” he said.
“We’ve been growing Oyster mushrooms here for 25 years but have never had demand like we’re seeing now.”