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. The main truffles sold in the Western World include:
- Tuber melanosporum , also called "the black truffle"
- Tuber aestivum whose nickname is the "black summer truffle"
- Tuber magnatum or the "white truffle", also referred to as the" trifola d'Alba Madonna"
- Leucangium carthusianum the "Oregon black truffle
Truffles are harvested during summer or winter, depending of the species and harvests often rely on the help of animals such as dogs or pigs, because of their acute sense of smell.
Truffles are often called the black or white gold because of the price. Indeed, truffles are a luxury good and a flavour used mainly in gourmet restaurants for the preparation of elaborate meals. Consumers appreciate truffles because of their fine and complex taste, and rarity.
The global market is in full growth, driven by the growth in commercial truffle farming which permits for higher productivity. Moreover, Europe is estimated to account for 41% of growth.
Another key driver globally is the rise in premium food, where truffles are integral. As disposable incomes increase parallel to a growing interest for food, consumers are more willing to eat truffle-based meals often served in restaurants.
In the UK, domestically produced truffles’ sales are down in light of more imports which increases competition and puts pressure on prices. Nevertheless, consumption remains somewhat stable and supports the market.
The market structure is fragmented where suppliers in the UK are often small independent truffle farmers. A notable player includes The Welsh Truffle Company.
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