Korea produces a variety of flavorful and fragrant mushrooms including enoki mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, and shiitakes. Mushrooms are broadly classified into two categories: farm mushrooms and forest mushrooms. The former are cultivated in large-scale modernized production facilities, and enoki mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, and oyster mushrooms fall in that category. The Korea Mushroom Council, which brings together eight mushroom producers, is a leading exporter pioneering overseas markets with its own mushroom brand, “K-MUSH.”
Export of Mushrooms to 27 Countries including the US, Canada, and Australia
The Korea Mushroom Council was established by a joint investment of six Korean mushroom producers in November 2009. It started exports in the following year and has been playing a leading role ever since as a mushroom exporter accredited by the Korean government. At first cultivating Asian markets like China and Vietnam, now it strives to expand its exports to the US, Canada, Australia, and countries in Europe.
Heading the group since 2009, President of the Korea Mushroom Council Nam Sang-won said, “Enoki mushrooms and king oyster mushrooms are our flagship products. We also export beech mushrooms, which are functional mushrooms known to prevent aging. In addition to our main market of the United States, we export mushrooms to 27 other countries including Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, and Indonesia.”
Accounts for 75% of the Total Exports of Enoki Mushrooms from Korea, Targets Overseas Chinese
The Korea Mushroom Council boasts outstanding export performance. Last year alone, it sold US$ 12.5 million worth of enoki mushrooms overseas, which accounts for about 75% of the total volume of enoki mushrooms exported from Korea. The company also shipped out US$ 5.8 million worth of king oyster mushrooms and US$ 1.23 million worth of beech mushrooms, which corresponds to 40% of the total export volume of Korean king oyster mushrooms and nearly 90% of the total export volume of Korean beech mushrooms. Furthermore, exports of all three types of mushrooms in the first half of this year increased by over 40% compared to the same period last year.
According to Nam, the main consumers of mushrooms supplied by the Korea Mushroom Council are overseas Chinese and other Asians, who appreciate the company’s mushrooms for their uniform quality and high food safety. He added, "We frequently hold events in large supermarkets overseas to promote the K-MUSH brand, and thanks to these efforts, the awareness about K-MUSH mushrooms has considerably increased.”
Introducing a Cold-Chain System, Obtaining a Global GAP Certification, and Other Efforts to Increase Competitiveness
Behind the increased recognition of K-MUSH mushrooms overseas are the company’s unremitting efforts to increase the competitiveness of their mushrooms through thorough quality management. A cold-chain system and transportation by air to remote markets like the US and Europe are used to maintain the freshness of mushrooms until they reach the dining tables of overseas consumers. Furthermore, all members of the Korea Mushroom Council have obtained the global GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) certification and use the product history traceability system.
Nam said, “Among the eco-friendly mushrooms produced in our cutting-edge automated facilities, we select the best-quality ones for export and pack them in different ways—small packages, combination packages with different types of mushrooms, and so on—to meet the various needs of consumers abroad.”
Development of Recipes Using Korean Mushrooms
The Korea Mushroom Council focuses on promoting K-MUSH mushrooms to consumers in its major markets of North America, Europe, and Australia. An important part of this effort is the creation and dissemination of recipes using Korean mushrooms. The company is also looking for buyers in India, which is considered a promising market for Korean mushrooms.
Nam believes that mushrooms have a great export potential because they are widely consumed around the world. He revealed that the Korea Mushroom Council plans to develop processed mushroom products, such as sauces and snacks, from the second half of this year to further increase the consumption of Korean mushrooms overseas.
*Korea Mushroom Council
Tel: +82-2-6402-8624~6, +82-10-4938-6904 (Nam Sang-won, President)
Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
# Additional Info: Choose the Mushroom Type According to Your Taste
- Enoki mushrooms are rich in nutrition such as amino acids and vitamins. Studies show that regular consumption of enoki mushrooms can prevent cancers. Among the various kinds of Korean mushrooms, enoki mushrooms record the largest export volume. They are highly popular abroad as an ingredient for hot-pot dishes.
- King oyster mushrooms have a higher content of vitamins C and B6 compared to other mushrooms. Thanks to their mild scent, they are versatile as an ingredient for stir-fried, grilled, and roasted dishes. The gummy yet soft texture makes them a good substitute for meat. King oyster mushrooms can also be used for dieting since they are low in calories.
- Beech mushrooms abound with protein, calcium, and vitamins, and are known to prevent aging. Soft in texture, they are often used to make stew and soup. The demand for beech mushrooms worldwide is gradually increasing because, given their functionalities, they are very reasonably priced.
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