Why It Matters Where Your Mushrooms Come From

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Why It Matters Where Your Mushrooms Come From


Have you ever thought how many miles a mushroom travels to end up on your plate? Mushrooms are playing a bigger and bigger part in our plant-based diets, so this is why where they come from matters.

Georgina Wilson-Powell

Mon 9 Mar 2020

Last month a new report 'Mushroom Miles' highlighted just how important it is we know where our superfood du jour - the humble mushroom - comes from.

With 60% of us reducing our meat intake and 62% of us trying to reduce our food miles (click here for how to reduce your foodprint when eating out), mushrooms win on both counts and their verstatility is only just being properly explored by chefs, home cooks and supermarkets. Mushrooms are also packed with Vitamin D, something a lot of us run short of.

The UK (and Ireland's) climate is perfect mushroom growing weather, and mushrooms don't travel terribly well, so it seems a little self-defeating and not at all sustainable that we often import them from over 1,000 miles away.

mushroom in the woods

How often do you buy mushrooms? Do you know where they come from?

In a world of complex global supply chains, mushrooms can have a very low carbon footprint (especially as they can be foraged locally in so many areas in the UK and Ireland - but please make sure you know what you're doing, or go out with an expert). 

Why are mushrooms so sustainable?

  • Mushrooms only take five to six weeks to grow and harvest.
  • The farming process needed is all recyclable - they grow in coffee grounds, manure, wheat straw and other organic waste and return key nutrients to the soil when they breakdown.
  • Mushrooms create 0.5 Kilograms of CO2 per pound (454g) of food consumed. In comparison per CO2 per pound (454g) consumed; chicken has 3.1 kg, pork has 5.5 kg and salmon has 5.4 kg.

75% of our mushrooms in Britain come from the UK and Ireland but it could be 100% - we have the capacity to make sure that all mushrooms sold in British supermarkets come from UK and Ireland but it needs consumers to ask and insist on using home grown mushrooms. 

12% of our mushrooms come from over 1,000 miles away from Poland and Eastern Europe, which reduces their shelf life and can increase food waste.

mushrooms on a chopping board
“75% of our mushrooms in Britain come from the UK and Ireland but it could be 100%”

Why does it matter?

We Brits love a mushroom. Over 80% of us buy them and we buy them on average 20 times a year. Depsite most of us wanting to support domestic industries and local food production, we often don't realise that our mushroom friends aren't grown here. 

A new report, Mushroom Miles, is calling for increased transparency of where mushrooms are grown, what food miles they've racked up and to help make all our mushrooms British and Irish grown. 40% of us would even pay more to make sure this happened. Would you?

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