Summary of our market study

As of 2020, the global truffle market reflected a trend towards growth despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. While the United States is not a significant producer of truffles, with domestic production and exports being negligible, it remained a primary importer. The U.S. truffle market saw a slight increase in imports around $120 million annually, with a notable increase in 2020, while exports experienced a sharp decline, indicating a strong consumer demand for these luxury goods. Major import partners included truffle-producing countries like the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, and Poland. Consumption trends indicated a high demand for truffles during seasonal periods, particularly around Christmas and New Year. The truffle industry was characterized by niche markets with high prices, varying significantly by type and quality, with European truffles generally commanding higher prices due to perceived quality, despite potential freshness losses during shipping. There was also an uptick in the presence of truffle products online, demonstrating a shift in purchasing habits. While the pandemic's full impact on global supply chains was not detailed, it suggested a notable effect on the availability and consumption of truffles in traditional settings, such as restaurants. Overall, the market was expected to continue its growth trajectory, although the precise impacts of COVID-19 required further observation.

Dynamics and Trends in the U.S. Truffle Market In the United States

The truffle market remains a burgeoning yet lucrative segment within the broader gourmet food industry. As a historically niche offering, truffles are gradually making their way into American culinary experiences, riding the wave of increased gourmet consumption and a growing appreciation for fine dining. With a market worth between $20 and $25 million, truffles encapsulate a unique intersection of luxury, rarity, and gastronomic delight. One of the key trends in the U.S. truffle market is the increasing demand from high-end restaurants and resorts that pride themselves on using locally sourced, high-quality ingredients. These establishments often opt for truffles as they add a touch of luxury and complexity to their culinary creations. Specialty grocers also contribute to the rising demand, catering to the sophisticated palates of gourmet customers who seek out truffle-infused products like oils, honeys, and cheeses. Farmers' markets are another avenue where the sales of truffles are noteworthy, appealing to consumers who prioritize health and sustainability. Here, the inclination towards organic and locally produced goods resonates with the market positioning of truffles.

Furthermore, e-commerce platforms are playing a pivotal role in meeting the escalating truffle demand by offering a vast selection of truffle-based products to a broader audience. The spending habits of U.S. households underline the potential for market growth, with an average annual food expenditure reaching between $5,000 and $7,000. Growing median household incomes, which reside in the tens of thousands of dollars, coupled with a relatively stable share of food expenditures, underpin the potential for luxury food items like truffles to gain a firmer footing in the American market. An interesting aspect of truffle consumption is its seasonal nature, with significant spikes in interest and demand during festive periods like Christmas and New Year. This indicates a cyclical pattern that producers and retailers could leverage for strategic marketing and stockpiling. Changes in lifestyle and purchasing habits are also influencing the truffle market. The U.S. is witnessing a surge in the organic share of total food sales, indicative of a shift towards more conscientious eating habits. Meanwhile, food spending away from home is steadily climbing, reaching sales in the billions of dollars. This trend signals a robust market for truffle suppliers, with restaurants accounting for a major share of truffle consumption. Lastly, the promising inclination towards online grocery shopping is worth noting, as it paves the way for innovative sales channels for truffles and truffle-based products.

Key Players Shaping the Truffle Market Landscape As the truffle industry garners attention on a global stage, the market sees an intriguing mix of businesses that play various roles, from production to distribution. Let’s explore the main players making waves in the diverse world of truffles, as mentioned in the prior comprehensive market overview.

  • Urbani Tartufi: Dominating the Truffle Trade Boasting control over 70% of the global legal truffle market, Urbani Tartufi stands as the titan of truffles. This Italian company, with its stronghold in the truffle scene, commands significant influence in the availability and distribution of these culinary treasures. While Urbani Tartufi has faced issues in the past with product labeling controversies, their dominance signifies the considerable demand and consumer trust in well-established truffle brands.
  • New World Truffieres: Pioneering Truffle Cultivation in the U.S. With a vision to integrate truffle cultivation into the agricultural framework of the United States, New World Truffieres has been providing American farmers with the necessary expertise and tree saplings inoculated with truffle spores. Their efforts are central to developing orchards capable of producing local varieties of truffles, potentially transforming the U.S. into a noteworthy player in the truffle cultivation field.
  • Pat Long: A Forager's Touch Professional harvesters like Pat Long bring the age-old tradition of truffle foraging to the modern marketplace. Utilizing trained dogs, these foragers have honed the artisanal craft of locating and collecting truffles from the wild, providing a sustainable and eco-friendly harvesting method that's critical for maintaining the delicate balance within truffle ecosystems.
  • Tartufi & Delizie and Truffle Hunter: European Exports in High Demand From Italy and the UK, companies such as Tartufi & Delizie and Truffle Hunter represent the traditional heartland of truffle production. Their role in exporting high-quality, authentic European truffles caters to the insatiable demand for diverse truffle varieties in the U.S., ensuring that enthusiasts have access to a range of flavors from the classic terrains of the Old World.
  • Kroger: A Retail Giant's Role in Truffle Distribution Supermarket chains like Kroger serve as a significant link between the truffle industry and everyday consumers. By offering truffle products on their shelves, they cater to the growing appetite for gourmet ingredients among a broader audience, making truffles more accessible to the public. 
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  • Last update : 27/05/2021
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Summary and extracts

1 Market summary

1.1 Definition and presentation

“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 ones sold in the United States are:

  • Tuber melanosporum, also called “the black truffle”
  • Tuber aestivum, whose nickname is the “black summer truffle”
  • Tuber magnatum, the “white truffle” or the “trifola d'Alba Madonna”
  • Leucangium carthusianum, the “Oregon black truffle

Truffles are harvested during summer or winter, depending on the species and harvests which often rely on the help of animals such as dogs or pigs, because of their acute sense of smell.

Truffles are often called black or white gold because of their high prices on the markets. They are mainly used in gourmet restaurants for the preparation of elaborate meals and are highly sought after because of their fine and complex taste and rarity.

Once characterized as an “European ingredient”, truffle production is slowly shifting from the Old World to the New World thanks to a better understanding of their cultivation, better awareness and a renewed interest in North America.

 

1.2 The global market

The FAO’s data can be used to get an overview of the global mushroom and truffle production, to have an idea of what countries are important in terms of production. In ****, according to the FAO, over * million tons of mushrooms and truffles were produced in the world, which China dominating ...

1.3 A niche market

A **** market analysis provided by the USDA (***) asserted that the truffle market in the U.S. is still in its infancy. In the country, “revenues from harvesting [***] grossing about $***,*** per year” with less than *,*** pounds harvested in ****. A few years later, in ****, the U.S. imports of truffles accounted for $** million ...

1.4 Imports & exports

Using the UN Comtrade database we can track global trade flows. Within the database, truffles are registered under the code ****, which corresponds to 'Mushrooms and truffles'. Obviously this represents a larger scope than our market but gives an idea of the trends in the truffle market.

The US has remained a ...

1.5 Impact of COVID-19

Truffles only grow in some places on earth around trees such as birch, poplar and oaks. As mentioned above, the USA is not a producer of truffles, and therefore it would be difficult to imagine the COVID-** pandemic having impact on the domestic production of truffles (***). However, as almost the totality ...

2 Demand analysis

2.1 Demand overview

Targeted markets

The USDA identified * categories of markets targeted by truffles suppliers:

Restaurants and resorts (***): generally, gourmet chefs and restaurants prefer to buy local products because they keep their flavours as the main problem of overseas supply is the great loss of flavours from the truffles - and delivery is quicker. ...

2.2 Lifestyle and new habits change consumption

Lifestyle of health and sustainability consumers

Consumers are increasingly cautious about what they eat and how it was produced. This lifestyle trend means more and more people shop in stores where organic products are sold. Farmers’ markets and special grocers benefit from a renewed interest from consumers as they are perceived ...

2.3 New trends in demand

Truffles can be segmented in two categories (***):

Raw Processed

While raw truffles are the purest and most sought after form of this product, it is almost the most expensive. For this reason brands have diversified into processed truffle products, maintaining a veneer of 'luxury' to the product, while making it accessible ...

3 Market structure

3.1 Organization and dynamics of the market

Suppliers

France and Italy are the * main countries where truffles are produced. However, the market organization is really specific with one market leader and many individual producers:

The market leader: Urbani Tartufi, of Urbani Truffles in the U.S., it controls **% of the global legal truffle market, making it the indisputable ...

3.2 Production and harvest

Truffles production

Truffles can be found naturally in fields and forests but can also be cultivated, since the **th century. They need somewhat specific conditions to be produced:

They must be planted near the roots of a mature trees such as oaks or hazelnuts and take * to ** years to develop their ...

3.3 Distribution

The distribution of truffles is similar to the one of other food products, which can be split in * categories.

Business to Business

After they have been cultivated, truffles are either sold by the harvesters to consolidators or bigger companies that will ship them to other stores or clients; or they are ...

4 Analysis of the offer

4.1 Truffle products: raw and processed

Raw truffles

The first kind of truffle that can be bought in the markets, or during festivals, is the raw truffle. Harvesters just clean them and sell them to consumers or restaurants. There are many sorts of truffles, each has its own savor, fragrance, and appearance. The most common ones, which ...

4.2 The truffle: an expensive product

In the truffle industry, prices vary a lot but are generally very high: buying Péridords truffles can cost more than $*** per pound while buying Prized white truffles from the Italian Piedmont can reach $**** a pound.

The prices are generally determined by * explicit parameters and another one, more implicit:

The truffle ...

4.3 Supply trends

Truffles in every product?

As interest rises in the American population about truffles, restaurants and companies started to increase the number of products using truffle. Restaurants use truffles slices for their seasoning and as a way to upgrade their menu (***).

On the other hand, companies have developed new truffle-derived products to ...

4.4 The rise of the American truffle ?

The Oregon truffle

Traditional production places are located in France and Italy, where large-scale cultivation has been successfully put in place. However, in recent years, farmers in the U.S. started cultivating truffles (***) and harvested *,*** pounds in ****. The American production is only worth $***,*** dollars at the moment, even though it is ...

5 Rules and regulations

5.1 Mushroom regulation in the U.S.

Although there is no regulation specifically edited for the truffle market, regulations do exist for mushrooms cultivation and harvest. The USDA’s main guidelines are:

Each mushroom farm shall have a food safety plan that identifies and documents potential hazards, hazard control measures, and monitoring and verification procedures. Water quality shall ...

6 Positioning of the actors

6.1 Segmentation

  • New World Truffieres
  • Pat Long
  • Urbani Tartufi
  • Tartufi & Delizie
  • Truffle Hunter
  • Eataly
  • Mikuni Wild Harvest
  • Lincoln Ristorante
  • The French Laundry
  • Dean & Deluca
  • Marky’s
  • Gourmet Food Store

List of charts presented in this market study

  • Principaux pays producteurs de champignons et truffes
  • Revenu médian réel des ménages aux États-Unis
  • Dépenses alimentaires des ménages américains
  • Chiffre d'affaires de l'industrie de la restauration
  • Intérêt pour la recherche "Truffe"
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Latest news

Welcome to Eataly - 12/12/2022
  • Eataly Paris Marais covers an area of over 2,500 m2.
  • The establishment offers seven food service outlets.
  • It offers 7,000 Italian products for sale.
  • It also lists 1,700 different types of wine.
  • Cooking classes, including children's classes, are available

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. :

New World Truffieres
Pat Long
Urbani Tartufi
Tartufi & Delizie
Truffle Hunter
Eataly
Mikuni Wild Harvest
Lincoln Ristorante
The French Laundry
Dean & Deluca
Marky’s
Gourmet Food Store

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