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MARKET SUMMARY

1.1 Definition and presentation

Truffle is the name given to particular species of mushrooms that are found in the ground and grow in symbiosis with roots of various plants. A single fungus can give life to different truffles. There are 4 main categories of truffles on the market:

  • Tuber Magnatum Pico (or white truffle of Alba): The tuber magnatum Pico is certainly the most expensive truffle on the market, and it can only be found in Italy and certain regions of Croatia.
  • Tuber Melanosporum Vittadini (or Tartufo Nero pregiato): This truffle is the most known truffle in the world, as it is also the most present in other countries other than Italy, such as France, Spain, Bulgaria, and Croatia.
  • Tuber Uncinatum Chatin (or Tartufo Uncinato)
  • Tuber Aestivum Vittadini (or Summer Truffle, Scorzone): The scorzone is the most collected and most present truffle in Italy.

Truffle harvesting in Italy was responsible for the origin of the first legislation concerning the collection of wild products on the national territory. Since then, the regulatory framework has undergone a series of changes in the hope of preserving the activity and limiting the black sale of the product, but to date the sector still lacks some main guidelines.

The truffle market is highly fragmented in Italy and consists of a multitude of small players who are truffle-hunters, "tartufaia" cultivators, manufacturing companies and distributors. The country continues to lead the rest of Europe in the production and export of truffles, boasting an ancient tradition of harvesting, thanks to the morphological conditions of the territory. Concerning the total national production, the Apennine areas in the center (Marche, Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany) represent 53%, followed by the South with 39% and the North with 8%. In the regional production, Umbria and Abruzzo are the more important producing regions, representing altogether the 53% of the Italian production. 

The demand for truffle is tightly linked to the restaurant, transformation and tourism industry and it is highly seasonal. As a matter of fact, the demand usually peaks in October-November, as it follows the truffle collection calendars. In addition, every year there are an increasing number of fairs and events organized around the truffle world, which leads to talk about a real tourism of truffle, attracting thousands of visitors.

The offer of truffle-based products has significantly expanded in recent years, as consumers can get a taste of truffle in a more convenient format and at a less prohibitive price. Furthemore, many truffle-based products manufacturers have decided to offer a biological line, which doesn't use any artificial or chimical element in the production process, to adapt to the changing customer demand. 

1.2 Global market

It is difficult to obtain an accurate figure about the world truffle market, as many transactions are still made at local fairs in the main producing regions.

It can be estimated that in ****, the world truffle market was worth approximately $*** million. The truffle market shows very promising growth forecasts for the ...

1.3 A highly variable national market

The lack of national statistics and databases about truffle collection and trade makes the estimation of production and turnover especially difficult. As a matter of fact, the Italian Ministry of agricultural, food and forestry policies has estimated that economic chain of truffle is based for the **% on amateur truffle hunters. 

Only ...

1.4 International trade as an important share of the market

In the Italian market, we can identify two main segments: fresh and processed truffle. The first is linked to local consumption and often directly in the harvesting areas, while the second is more export-oriented towards the North European or North American markets. 

International trade represents an important share of the Italian ...

DEMAND ANALYSIS

2.1 The tight link between truffle and the restaurant, processing and tourism industries

The demand for truffle is mainly driven by the restaurant and processing industry and, indirectly, by the tourism industry. 

According to Università Ca' Foscari, **% of truffle is distributed to the processing industry, which will transform it into truffle-based products. The demand for truffle-based products has increased significantly in recent years, especially ...

2.2 High seasonality of demand

The collection calendar for truffle slightly varies every year and it depends on the species of truffle and the region. Every year, each region determines the collection calendar and truffle-hunters are only allowed to collect a specific species of truffle in that time frame. 

The colleciton of truffle is usually in ...

2.3 The impact of Covid-19 on demand

The outbreak of the Covid-** pandemic has had a massive impact on the italian truffle industry:

The Covid-** pandemic has forced many local truffle fairs to shut down completely or be held digitally this year. Truffle fairs are considered one of the most important distribution channels for the direct sale to ...

MARKET STRUCTURE

3.1 Market structure overview

The value chain of the truffle market comprises several steps and players. 

First, it is important to make a distinction between the different type of land where truffle can be collected:

Natural “tartufaia”: here, truffle grows spontaneously without human intervention. The only intervention by the truffle-hunter entails the research and collection ...

3.2 Umbria and Abruzzo lead the national production

From the analysis of the available productive data it emerges first of all that the Italian production of truffles has been, on average, ** tons per year in the last ** years. The collection of data about the production of truffles stops in ****, but we know that in **** the production has been equal ...

3.3 The average truffle-hunter: 50-year-old man living in the Central Apennines

The most densely populated municipalities of truffle hunters are all concentrated in certain areas, such as those related to the Central Apennines (***), the Tuscan-Emilian Apennines and the Piedmontese Langhe, areas with a long tradition of collecting and marketing truffles, nowadays the best known for their products sold in the national and ...

3.4 The cost and profitability of collecting and cultivating truffles

The costs to operate in the truffle market vary greatly according to whether the players decide to go truffle hunting exclusively, in which case the costs are more limited, or cultivate their own truffles. 

License costs

In all Italian regions, in order to hunt and collect truffles, it is essential to ...

ANALYSIS OF THE OFFER

4.1 Offer overview: the different species of truffle

Italy is the European country with the largest number of species of truffles. The most common species present on the Italian market are:

Tuber Magnatum Pico (***): The tuber magnatum Pico is certainly the most expensive truffle on the market. It has a rounded shape of ochre yellow or olive yellow colour, ...

4.2 A wide variety of prices

The prices of truffle depend on the species, size, and distribution channel. Furthermore, the prices of truffles change everyday, depending on the yearly production and demand. 

The Tuber magnatum (***) is the most expensive species, which can cost up to approximately *,*** euros per kilogram. The heavier the truffle, the higher the price, ...

4.3 Truffle-based products and services

Truffle-based products

Fresh truffle represents only a limited share of the offer of the Italian truffle market. As seen in section *.*, **% of the production of truffle is sold to the transformation industry, which transforms it into truffle-based products. These include:

Truffle oil and vinegar Truffle spreads and sauces Truffle pasta Truffle ...

RULES AND REGULATIONS

5.1 National and regional regulations

Collection of truffle

The premise has briefly described the historical excursus of the regulations of collection of the spontaneous products like the truffle, for which from **** to today, the Civil Code (***), have regulated the rights of property of the spontaneous and cultivated truffle and consequently the norms of access and use ...

POSITIONING OF THE ACTORS

6.1 Segmentation

  • Urbani Tartufi
  • Tartufi & Delizie
  • Appennino Food Group
  • Sabatino Tartufi
  • Poddi Tartufi
  • Sulpizio Tartufi

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Analysts

Hugo S.

chargé d'études économiques, Xerfi

Hugo S.

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Mathieu Luinaud

Associate Consultant

Mathieu Luinaud

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Education Formation
Robin C.

PhD Industrial transformations

Robin C.

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Pierre D.

Analyst

Pierre D.

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Ross Alumni Club France

Arnaud W.

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Analyste de marché chez Businesscoot

Amaury de Balincourt

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Pierrick C.

Consultant

Pierrick C.

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Maelle V.

Project Finance Analyst, Consulting

Maelle V.

Héloise Fruchard

Etudiante en Double-Diplôme Ingénieur-Manager Centrale

Héloise Fruchard

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Imane E.

EDHEC

Imane E.

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Vincent D.

Auditeur

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Eva-Garance T.

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Michela G.

Market Research Analyst

Michela G.

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Azelie P.

Market Research Analyst @Businesscoot

Azelie P.

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Cantiane G.

Market Research Analyst @Businesscoot

Cantiane G.

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Jules D.

Consultant

Jules D.

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Alexia V.

Alexia V.

Emil Ohlsson

Emil Ohlsson

Anna O.

Anna O.

Gabriel S.

Gabriel S.