Two obscure mushroom varieties have been at the centre of Tesco’s rise in plant-based products, with sales for Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms increasing by 240%.
The two mushrooms are renowned for their meat-like texture and are two of the key vegetables that are at the centre of the supermarket’s Wicked Kitchen vegan food range.
As a direct result of the rising demand, the Brown Oyster Cluster mushrooms are now being commercially grown in the UK by specialist Lancashire producer Smithy Mushrooms and plans are already underway for the company to start growing the King Oyster variety later this year.
Derek Sarno, Tesco’s director of Plant-based Innovation said: “Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms offer such a meaty texture and versatility that they can be adapted to replicate just about any meat dish making them the perfect ingredient for plant-based cooking.
“They’re delicious on their own but the mild flavours and fibrous consistency easily absorbs whatever herbs, spice blends or sauces you choose to use – from Texan BBQ, Indian, Pan-Asian to classic British comfort foods.
“I’ve been working with them for many years and thanks to their incredible taste and versatility they have become a cornerstone of my recipes.”
“We’ve been growing Oyster mushrooms here for 25 years but have never had demand like we’re seeing now.”
John Dorrian, managing director of Smithy Mushrooms, based in Ormskirk, Lancashire, says the demand for the Brown and King Oyster mushrooms has been overwhelming and has necessitated the need to expand.
“The plant-based food revolution has had a major impact on sales and we are already at the planning stage for a new purpose-built farm which will allows us to grow more of these specialist varieties used in vegan cooking.
Dorrian continued: “We’ve been growing Oyster mushrooms here for 25 years but have never had demand like we’re seeing now.
“They are incredibly versatile and can be shredded to replicate pulled pork; thinly sliced to make kebab skewers and even sliced to make scallops that are indistinguishable from the meat variety.”