The global truffle market, renowned for its high-value fungi into cultivation and heightened demand for premium food, was forecasted to grow significantly with an estimated CAGR of 19% between 2018 to 2023. Europe's stronghold in production, led by traditional producers Spain, Italy, and France, was pivoting as climate change enabled countries like the UK to enter the market, evidenced by the cultivation of the first Black Périgord Truffle there. The UK truffle sector faced a volatile domestic market with preserved mushrooms and truffle sales plummeting by 65% and prices surging from £2.42/kg to £4.48/kg, indicating stable or growing demand despite declining supply. Importantly, the international trade of truffles saw the UK heavily relying on imports. This transition towards more local production is also accentuated by technological advances potentially cutting the cultivation period in half. However, challenges persist, including climate change risks threatening to decrease European production by up to 100% by 2100, truffle fraud concerning product authenticity, and strict regulation demanding responsible harvesting on private lands.

The UK's Shifting Truffle Dynamics: A Blend of Traditional Import Reliance and Emergent Domestic Growth

In the United Kingdom, the truffle market has manifested a complex interplay between historically strong import reliance and emerging trends in domestic cultivation. The landscape of truffle consumption has changed significantly in recent years, reflecting a decrease in domestically sold truffles by volume. While the decline in production volume has resulted in heightened scarcity and thus an upsurge in prices, the underlying demand for truffles remains robust within the country. Underscoring the fragmented structure of this market, numerous small independent truffle farmers operate within the UK, complemented by established foreign players from Europe’s traditional truffle triad—Spain, Italy, and France.

The collective movement towards more premium food experiences has further galvanized interest in truffles, an item synonymous with culinary luxury. The volatility of the UK truffle industry, embodied by the dramatic dip in preserved truffles and mushrooms volume from approximately 3.63 million kilograms to around 1.28 million kilograms, underscores the fragility of truffle cultivation against environmental variables such as climate. Global warming, albeit a considerable threat, has paradoxically positioned the UK to potentially flourish as a burgeoning truffle hub. This notion is reinforced by the first successful cultivation of a domestic Black Périgord Truffle in recent years. Internationally, the UK's import-export equation for truffles presents an interesting narrative. The import value hovered around $25.82 million, while exports contributed a value closer to $8.25 million. There appears to be dynamic growth in the export domain, with coverage rates soaring from 5% to a substantial 32%.

Trade destinations for UK truffles stretch beyond European borders into diverse markets like South Korea, the US, and Singapore, among others. Projections suggest the global truffle market is poised for significant growth, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate of about 19%. It is evident that Europe will continue to influence market expansion significantly. Concurrently, the UK market itself is valued in billions, creating a fertile landscape ripe for investment and government-supported initiatives to capitalize on evolving climatic conditions that could open new avenues for truffle growth within British soil.

Navigating the Truffle Terrain: The Key Players Shaping the Market

In the sought-after industry of gastronomic treasures, a few names stand out in the complex world of truffle commerce. Among these are global and UK-based companies that have made significant strides in cultivating, distributing, and enhancing the market for this prized fungi.

  • Sabatino Truffles, standing as a stalwart in the global truffle market, has made a name for itself through a century-long tradition. Founded in Italy, the birthplace of many coveted truffle species, Sabatino has expanded its operations across continents, offering a range of truffles and truffle-infused products to an international clientele. Their dedication to quality and heritage has made them a household name in the luxury food segment.
  • Plantin, hailing from the scenic landscapes of Provence, France, has bridged tradition with modern gastronomy. Their product range, extending beyond fresh truffles to include oils, preserves, and truffle-based condiments, demonstrates an understanding of the versatile appeal of truffles in culinary arts. Although rooted in French truffle hunting customs, Plantin's reach extends well beyond European borders, serving the needs of Michelin-starred chefs and gourmet enthusiasts alike.
  • On home turf, Wild Harvest UK brings the allure of wild and fresh ingredients to Britain's doorstep. As a supplier to the nation's top dining establishments, Wild Harvest UK has built its reputation on sourcing not only the finest in truffles but also an array of other wild produce, connecting the British palate with nature's most exquisite offerings. The English Truffle Company taps into the burgeoning potential of the UK's truffle industry, having witnessed the successful cultivation of native truffles. This company exemplifies the blend of traditional foraging methods with contemporary practices, helping to position the UK as an emerging player in the global truffle market. Their commitment to fostering the growth of British truffles and educating consumers on their wonders speaks to a forward-thinking approach in an industry poised for change.

Together, these companies navigate the delicate balance of tradition and innovation within the truffle market. Their varied positions – from global veterans like Sabatino and Plantin to domestic champions like Wild Harvest UK and The English Truffle Company – illustrate the market's diversity and potential for growth. As custodians of culinary luxury, they not only cater to the appetites of truffle aficionados but also shape the future potential of this highly competitive industry.

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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of the study

"Truffle" is the vernacular name of mushrooms that can be found in the ground and are round-shaped. The color of a truffle can differ greatly from one species to another, however black and white truffles are the most common. Truffles are an extremely complex product, which has been cultivated for centuries yet remains very unreliable in terms of supply quantities. Many factors influence the volume of truffle harvests, including the climate and location of growth. In light of this, prices are very high. Related to this and the complex nature of the product, the levels of fraud remain high. 

Truffles are harvested during summer or winter, depending on the species. Harvests most of the time rely on the help of animals such as dogs or a female pig due to their acute sense of smell.

The global truffles market is in full growth. Between 2018 and 2023, the market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of 19%, where Europe is estimated to account for 41% of growth. Indeed, although the share of European production in the world is shrinking, Europe is still very much the world's largest producer and exporter, where Spain, Italy and France stand out as the oligopoly of traditional truffle production.

Another key driver to truffles rise globally is the increase in demand for premium food, where truffles are integral. As disposable incomes increase parallel to a growing interest for food, consumers are more willing to spend on truffle-based meals served in restaurants for example. 

In the United Kingdom, domestically sold truffles have decreased somewhat in value since 2008, whilst the drop in volume sales is more significant. Nevertheless, imports are still high, and on top of this the average price of truffles increased from £2.42/kg in 2008 to £4.48/kg in 2019. In other words, the underlying demand remains strong. 

The market structure is fragmented where suppliers in the UK are often small independent truffle farmers. A notable player includes The English Truffle Company, whilst many players are foreign from truffle exporting countries such as Italy, France and Spain. Going forward, truffle cultivation is shifting northwards amid climate change, and the UK is expected to be able to capitalise on this shift. 2017 was a monumental year for British truffle manufacturing as the first ever British Black Périgord Truffle was cultivated.

1.2 The global market's rapid growth

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 US$*** million. The truffle market shows very promising growth forecasts for ...

1.3 A volatile domestic market

The data for the graph below uses the code "********-Prepared or preserved mushrooms and truffles EXCLUDING: - by vinegar or acetic acid - dried - frozen - prepared vegetable dishes". [***]

Sales volume of preserved mushrooms or truffles manufactured United Kingdom, ****-****, in *,*** kilograms Source: ****

The sales volume of preserved mushrooms and ...

1.4 International Trade

This section analyses the UK's trade of truffles. In particular, data is extracted from UN Comtrade's product category "****-Mushrooms and Truffles, prepared or preserved other than by vinegar or acetic acid".

Trade of mushrooms and truffles United Kingdom, ****-****, in $US million and % Source: ****

The UK imports more truffles than it ...

2 Demand Analysis

2.1 Determinants of truffle consumption

Targeted markets

The USDA identifies * categories of markets targeted by truffles suppliers which applies to the UK as well:

Restaurants and resorts: generally, gourmet chefs and restaurants prefer to buy local products because they keep their flavors as the main problem of overseas supply is the great loss of flavors from ...

2.2 Europe's most popular truffles

The list below presents the most common types of truffles in Europe, based on popularity. 

The most popular truffles in Europe are the following (***):

Tartufo bianco d'Alba (***) Black Périgod Truffle (***) Black Summer Truffle (***) Burgundy Truffle (***) White Spring Truffle (***) Muscat Truffle (***) Tartufo di Bagnoli (***) Nero Liscio Truffle (***) Tartufo di San Miniato ...

2.3 Cyclical truffle demand in the UK

Search interest "Truffles" United Kingdom, ****-****, in index value Source: ****

The graph above shows the proportion of searches for the keyword "truffles" in the UK since ****, compared to the time when the use of this keyword was highest (***). Thus, a value of ** means that the keyword was used half as often ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Truffles coming alive

Source: ****

Finding a tree and location Truffles grow under the earth and around a handful of trees only. These include beech, birch, hazel, hornbeam, oak, pine, and poplar. Truffles require vast areas of land. European farmers plant on average *** trees per acre. Protecting the crops  Due to the what many claim ...

3.2 Distribution overview

The distribution of truffles is similar to other foods, with the exception that truffles as a whole are only distributed to a handful of players (***) or dried truffle. 

Below is an overview of the retail channels.


After they have been cultivated, truffles are either sold by the harvesters to ...

3.3 The UK - future global production centre?

In ****, the UK cultivated a Black Périgord (***) for the first time ever; the truffle weighed ** grams. After nine years of waiting, the harvest was made with the help of a trained dog and the earlier plantation of a Mediterranean oak tree. The truffle in question was been preserved for posterity. ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Product Overview

Different truffles come at different points in time during the year in Europe. 

Below we highlight common truffles in Europe and when they are harvested and sold.

Black Winter Truffle (***) Season: December-April Main area(***) of cultivation: Eastern Spain the Black Perigord truffle, dubbed the "Queen of Truffles", is probably the most ...

4.2 Price and cost analysis

Truffles are not farmed or cultivated, but rather foraged. Moreover, to locate truffles farmers must use animals such as a dog or a female pig. Adding to this, the fungi is extremely rare. For this reason, truffles are expensive, and seems to have no cap when it comes to prices. For ...

4.3 Supply trends

Climate Change

National Geographic reports that the main factor of disruption to truffle growth are the long, hot, dry summers. It is indeed the lack of water, or put differently, the droughts, which are damaging truffle production. 

Moreover, a paper titled "A risk assessment of Europe's black truffle sector under predicted ...

5 Regulation

5.1 Current Regulation

In light of Britain's withdrawal from the European Union, the island nation now implements and adheres to independent laws solely.

In the UK, all plants, animals and fungi on private land belong to the landowner. In other words, if one is growing truffles on private soil, the person in question also ...

6 Positioning of the players

6.1 Positioning of the actors

  • Sabatino Truffles
  • Plantin
  • Wild Harvest UK
  • The English Truffle Company

List of charts

  • Volume des ventes de conserves de champignons ou de truffes fabriquées
  • Commerce de champignons et truffes
  • Destination des exportations de champignons et truffes
  • Origine des importations de champignons et truffes
  • Le marché de la truffe
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Latest news

Plantin aims to revive French truffle production - 18/01/2024
  • Plantin's sales have risen from 18 to 38 million euros in three years.
  • 50% of the company's sales are generated abroad.
  • The company employs 100 people.
  • Plantin collects around 100 tonnes of truffles a year.
  • Plantin obtains its supplies directly from 300 professional truffle growers.
  • Plantin absorbs a good third of the French truffle production available through official channels.
  • Nicolas Rouhier, the company's director, says they need at least 50 more truffle growers to guarantee their supplies.
  • In 2017, the company invested in planting 50 hectares of land in Spain.
  • The land invested in Spain supplied one tonne of truffles last year and is expected to produce three times as much when mature.
  • They have converted nine hectares of land in the Vaucluse region for truffle production
  • The investment required to grow truffles is around 15,000 euros per hectare.
  • Each hectare can yield around 40 kilos of truffles ten years later, negotiable at between 400 and 600 euros per kilo.
Truffles: Plantin opens up to the general public - 21/02/2023
  • Between November and March, truffle growers flock to the plant in Puyméras, near Vaison-la-Romaine.
  • Plantin collects up to 100 tonnes of the precious tuber a year in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France's leading producer, but also in other regions (Charente, Drôme, Périgord) and elsewhere in the world, as far afield as Australia and Chile
  • A truffle champion since 1930, this Vaucluse-based breeder and merchant is aiming to increase its sales from €18 million to €27 million by 2022
  • 55 employees, 400 restaurant customers

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. :

Sabatino Truffles
Wild Harvest UK
The English Truffle Company

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the truffle market | UK

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