For the love of .... mushrooms!
With National Barbecue Week underway, new research reveals that Scots are mad for one particular veggie staple, swapping out their meat for mushrooms and going green on the barbecue this year. It seems Fungi has gained a new following, with over 1.2 million more Scots buying the nutrient-rich vegetable in April this year. The data also shows that shoppers are picking up a pack of their favourite fungi every other week.
For the first three months of 2020, sales of mushrooms reached over £113 million, with shoppers buying more than ever, while the total vegetable category also experienced growth of 3 percent, jumping £31 million within the same period in 2019. With plant-based consumption continuing to rise and over 60% of shoppers actively looking to eat more vegetable-based meals on a weekly basis, Scots are turning to mushrooms to get their fill.
The Mushroom Bureau revealed in a recent report that UK and Irish mushrooms are available in UK supermarkets 52 weeks of the year, so it’s no surprise that shoppers are opting for the locally sourced ingredient, as consumers search for more ways to consciously consume. Sustainable and full of vitamins, the mighty mushroom is a good source of vitamins B2, B3, B5 and folate, as well as the mineral selenium, and can be enriched with vitamin D and B12, making it the perfect vegetable to consume during lockdown.
Topping the list of the nation’s favourite fungi is white closed cup mushrooms, the versatile fungi can be used in a range of recipes across breakfast, lunch, and dinner, making it a popular choice for Scots. Next up is the brown or chestnut mushroom, which has seen a huge surge in popularity in the last year as Brits spend almost £6 million on purchasing the nutty tasting variety. Button mushrooms place third, with flat mushrooms taking fourth place – as shoppers swap out their beef burger patties for this beefy alternative or stack up the burger with mushroom toppings.
Personally, we love a beef burger topped with a flat mushroom.
Families are the top mushroom consumers, with almost a quarter (24 percent) eating them more regularly in 2019 compared to 2018, while consumption amongst millennials is also popular, with sales at £60 million.
A spokesperson from the Mushroom Bureau commented: “Mushrooms are really having their moment this year and it’s no surprise to see they are high on shoppers’ lists. Packed with vitamins and with strong sustainable credentials, the mushroom is the perfect ingredient if you’re going green this National Barbecue Week. It’s important to remember when sourcing mushrooms, shopping locally by buying UK and Irish ensures the freshest, most nutritious mushrooms which have travelled as little food miles as possible before reaching your plate.”
As lockdown eases, foraging is once again becoming popular. We were brought up always being told that you need to be careful when picking wild mushrooms. Thankfully, the Pentland Hills Regional Park run foraging courses in the breathtakingly beautiful area covering 10,000 hectacres of Scottish countryside. On these courses, near Penicuik, you can find a range of tasty spring shoots and in the summer a wide variety of some of the best edible mushrooms around. Check out the dates and courses here which include a meal at the ever-popular Flotterstone Inn. (Currently closed due to lockdown, but plan ahead now)
FUN FACT: Did you know there is a hidden tunnel in Edinburgh, called the Scotland Street tunnel, that in 1887 was used to grow mushrooms underground by the Scottish Mushroom Company? It is said that there were 800 mushroom beds, manure came in via a single track and mushrooms came out. The company went bankrupt in 1929.
If you love to support local and love mushrooms, check out https://mushroommiles.com/ for more information.