Short communication: Edible wild mushrooms of the Northern Mediterranean area - Sectorial analysis and future perspectives
Aim of study: Wild mushrooms are among the most widespread non-wood forest products in the Mediterranean region contributing to the rural economies. However, the wild mushroom sector still faces problems along its supply chain that can compromise its future in a scenario of increasing demand. The aim of this study was to analyse the current epigeous wild mushroom sector.
Area of study: Representative countries of the Mediterranean region: Spain, France, Italy, Croatia and Greece.
Materials and methods: The analysis was carried out through a structured Delphi survey conducted in two rounds, with a questionnaire divided into four groups: 1) supply chain description, 2) sectorial SWOT analysis, 3) future challenges and 4) sectorial resilience increase. The Delphi survey started with the selection of an expert panel that included 14 representatives of the wild mushroom supply chain such as forest owners, mushroom pickers, processing industry and consumers.
Main results: The results obtained from the expert panel confirmed the complexity of the wild mushroom supply chain with the following sectorial challenges: i) Traceability and sustainability is fundamental for the final consumer, ii) Sectorial administration should be more coordinated, iii) Mushroom picking should be regulated, as the grey market will decrease.
Research highlights: The study identified the most important actions that will strengthen the links among sectorial actors and interconnect gastronomy with mushrooms sector. The creation of a common EU list of commercial mushroom species and the development of a taxation system together with the product traceability were also addressed.
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