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 ...
2.1 Demand overview
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 (***):
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 ...
3.1 Organization and dynamics of the market
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 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 ...
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 ...
4.1 Truffle products: raw and processed
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 ...
5.1 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 ...
- New World Truffieres
- Pat Long
- Urbani Tartufi
- Tartufi & Delizie
- Truffle Hunter
- Mikuni Wild Harvest
- Lincoln Ristorante
- The French Laundry
- Dean & Deluca
- Gourmet Food Store
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