Barriers and Opportunities: Specialty Cultivated Mushroom Production in the United States


Producing and consuming specialty cultivated mushrooms (SCMs), cultivated mushrooms outside of the Agaricus genus, has the potential to positively impact sustainable food systems. Few studies have examined consumer perceptions of SCMs and industry-wide trends of SCM production in the United States (US), despite the USD 66.1 million in SCM sales in the US during 2020. This study looked at the barriers to and opportunities for cultivating, marketing, and consuming SCMs in the US by conducting a producer survey with SCM facilities in the US (n = 63). Survey results found diversification across products and practices within the SCM industry and on an individual business level. The most common place SCM growers sold their products was farmers’ markets (n = 63). The majority (53%) of growers (n = 60) used diverse (four or more) approaches to advertise their products. The majority of SCM growers (57%) indicated they had participated in a community outreach event in the past five years to help promote their SCM products (n = 63). Findings indicate there are opportunities for greater SCM business owner diversity. Our results indicate that production of SCMs may support economic, environmentally, and socio-culturally sustainable food systems and that there is further room for increased sustainability across the industry.



sustainability, diversification, food marketing, mushroom cultivation, consumer perceptions, farming practices, specialty crops, value-added, food system resilience


Moxley A, Ebel R, Cripps CL, Austin CG, Stein M, Winder M. Barriers and Opportunities: Specialty Cultivated Mushroom Production in the United States. Sustainability. 2022; 14(19):12591.
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