Meat-like mushroom varieties have been in “overwhelming” demand thanks to the soaring range of plant-based and vegan products on the market.
Tesco says two obscure varieties, Brown Oyster Cluster and King Oyster mushrooms in particular, have spiked in sales by nearly 240 per cent thanks to their ability to mimic meat-like qualities.
They are also two of the key vegetables behind the success of the supermarket’s vegan range, Wicked Kitchen.
According to the supermarket, the Brown Oyster Cluster mushrooms are being commercially grown in the UK by specialist Lancashire producer Smithy Mushrooms, with plans underway for the business to expand into King Oysters later this year.
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 expanding his business.
“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.
“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.”
Derek Sarno, Tesco’s director of plant-based innovation, said that some of his best Wicked Kitchen recipes use Oyster mushrooms as the key alternative in classic dishes such as Pulled ‘Pork’ Sandwiches; Cheeky Tikka; Asian BBQ ‘Steak’; Teriyaki Skewers; Chick’n’Noodle Ramen; Hoisin BBQ Shreds and King Oyster Mushroom Scallops.
“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,” Sarno said.
“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.”