Summary of our market study

The global truffle market has shown promising growth forecasts, with a projected CAGR of 19% between 2018 and 2023, suggesting an increase of $375.3 million in market size during that period. Despite few exact figures for the market size, it was estimated to be worth approximately $300 million. The Portuguese truffle market is heavily import-based due to low domestic production, with expenditure on truffles rising dramatically from EUR 970,000 to EUR 4,545,500. The increase in Portuguese consumer affluence, growing interest in premium products, and rising tourist inflow, coupled with a higher propensity for out-of-home food expenditure, support the truffle market expansion.

Production within Europe remains concentrated in traditional truffle-producing countries like Spain, France, and Italy, with Spain overtaking France as the leading producer. Harvesting is intricate, relying on trained dogs and pigs, and Portugal is examining the feasibility of establishing local truffle production, with challenges like the need for specific soil pH levels and the complexities of controlled cultivation. Truffle consumption in Portugal reflects the seasonality, with peaks during the festive season. Truffles are characterized by their rarity, types (notably Tuber melanosporum and Tuber aestivum), and a volatile market with prices fluctuating based on supply and demand. Regulations specific to fresh truffles govern their marketing and quality control, posing additional constraints on the industry. The market comprises of various players, with Urbani Tartufi recognized as the world leader in truffle distribution, but specific company revenues are not disclosed.

Portuguese Truffle Market Dynamics and Trends

The Portuguese truffle market, while not a large producer of truffles, has been demonstrating a remarkable increase in interest and consumption. An explosion in the volume of imported truffles was noted, showcasing that Portuguese consumers are starting to fully embrace these high-end products. This is backed by statistics from the Portuguese National Institute of Statistics indicating that the domestic consumption of truffles increased by 6.5 times during this period. Portuguese consumers, having recovered from the economic downturn of the early 2010s, are showing an inclination toward premium products. This trend aligns with findings that suggest around 89% of Portuguese consumers purchase "premium" products, exceeding the European average significantly. Furthermore, there is an enthusiasm for natural, organic, and sustainable goods, which may encompass luxury food items like truffles. The consumption of truffles in Portugal aligns with the overall trend in out-of-home food expenditure, which is higher than the European average.

The proportion of the household budget allocated to out-of-home food expenditure was about 9.2%, according to recent figures, with an upward trend over the last decade. This indicates a growing willingness to pay for high-quality dining experiences, which can include dishes with truffles. Another driving factor for the increased truffle demand in Portugal is the booming tourism sector. With tourism contributing to around 7% of the national GDP, and with tourist arrivals swelling to figures between 25 and 30 million in a year, there is a larger market for luxury food items. Tourist spending plays a significant part in lifting the consumption of high-end products like truffles, adding to the overall demand. Seasonality also influences the consumption patterns for truffles in Portugal, with a noticeable annual peak around the festive season. High-profile purchases of exceptionally large and expensive truffles in recent years have likely helped pique public interest. Despite challenges in cultivating truffles domestically due to factors like soil pH requirements and the complexity of truffle harvesting, there is potential for establishing a Portuguese truffle industry. Exploratory studies around native truffle species and the feasibility of planting have been conducted, although the creation of a Portuguese truffle production industry would necessitate overcoming significant barriers. Truffles remain a product with volatile prices, largely dependent on market demand and harvest yields, which can fluctuate dramatically from year to year. Price movements are responsive to seasonal demand, particularly around the holiday season when the interest in truffles heightens.

Principal Players Shaping the Truffle Market Landscape

The truffle market, characterized by an ensemble of producers and distributors, is dominated by a few key players who have established themselves as the standard-bearers within this niche and opulent space.

  • Among them, Urbani Tartufi stands out as the world leader in truffle distribution. Their prominence in the market is indicative of a rich heritage and a strong network that ensures a steady supply of this gourmet delicacy to connoisseurs around the globe. Even without publicly disclosed financials, Urbani Tartufi's influence is recognized and felt throughout the industry, impacting pricing, availability, and popular preferences. On a national level, different countries have local enterprises contributing to the truffle economy.
  • In the case of Portugal, Algarve Truffles is one such actor. As a domestic player, Algarve Truffles signals a growing interest in this luxurious product within the Portuguese market. They exemplify the potential for regional markets to evolve and support the development of the truffle industry locally, highlighting a trend of increased demand for quality and premium food items.

These companies, differing in scale and reach, reflect the segmentation present within the truffle sector. High-end consumers and specialized markets are their common ground, where the players position themselves differently but aim to satisfy the nuanced and sophisticated palate of the truffle enthusiast. Whether through global leadership or through national prominence, both Urbani Tartufi and Algarve Truffles contribute significantly to the shape and dynamics of the truffle market.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

The truffle is the name given to certain species of fungi that are found in the soil and grow in symbiosis with the roots of several plants. A single fungus can give life to different truffles. There are two main categories of truffles on the market :

  • The black truffle or Perigord truffle found in limestone soils, under truffle trees from 1 to 15 cm deep.
  • The white truffle the most popular and expensive variety on the market, found mainly in Italy and Croatia.

The truffle market is made up of a multitude of small players including farmers harvesting and distributing their produce . Much rarer than the black truffle, because it cannot be cultivated but grows spontaneously in specific regions, the white truffle is extremely delicate and can keep its aroma and taste for a week. Some actors are mobilizing to continue the modernization of the sector and find the support of the public authorities.

In Portugal, white truffles come directly from Piedmontese suppliers or sometimes from intermediaries such as Rungis, the Parisian supply market. Few restaurants dare to invest in this product, but there are a growing audience who doesn't refrain from consuming them The black truffle grows in soils with a high pH value (greater than 7.5), which is detrimental to truffle cultivation in Portugal where the soils are mainly acidic. For farmers, it is therefore necessary to correct the pH.

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Revenus prévisionnels du marché de la truffe
  • Commerce extérieur de truffes
  • Part du budget des ménages alloué aux dépenses alimentaires hors foyer
  • Dépenses annuelles moyennes des ménages portugais en hôtels et restaurants
  • Poids de la consommation de touristes dans la consommation finale
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Latest news

Urbani Tartufi invests 8 million euros to expand a plant dedicated to truffles - 22/12/2023
  • Year Urbani Tartufi was founded: 1852.
  • Main location: Scheggino (Perugia).
  • Planned expansion: Doubling the farm area by adding 8000 square meters, for a total of 16000 square meters.
  • Investment for expansion: About 8 million euros.
  • Main foreign markets:
    • U.S. presence: Urbani Truffles USA with 60 employees and locations in New York, Miami, Chicago, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Francisco.
    • Expansion in Asia: Plan to open branches in Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Bangkok within a year.
  • Total revenues in 2022: 85 million euros, with 18% growth.
  • Revenue target for 2025: Surpass 100 million euros.
  • Truffle production target for the current year: 300 tons.
  • Eco-friendly line introduced: "Natural Philosophy" with eight products in recyclable packaging.
  • Truffleland: Company dedicated to growing truffle trees, with a volume of more than 150 thousand trees per year.
  • Urbani Truffle Museum: Founded in 2012 and dedicated to founder Paolo Urbani, located in Scheggino.
  • Urbani Truffle Academy: Training place for chefs and gastronomy experts from around the world.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Urbani Tartufi
Algarve Truffles
Restaurante Come Prima

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