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EU wagers €2.76m on future of the mighty Irish mushroom

JUST add mushrooms -- that's the message from a new multimillion euro campaign trying to encourage Irish people to eat more of our fungi friends.

The campaign to boost sales is being jointly funded by Irish mushroom growers and the European Union.

It focuses only on fresh mushrooms, will see €2.76m spent on promoting the product in the UK and Ireland.

The industry here is worried that the number of households buying mushrooms is down, and continues to decline.

Less than 20pc of people who buy mushrooms in Ireland are under the age of 35.



THREAT

Bord Bia says: "Overall, the market for mushrooms is growing in both the UK and Ireland.

"However, a number of consumer attitudes pose a threat to mushrooms. People are trying to save on groceries and mushrooms are sometimes seen as an extra item that people can do without."

Consultant dietician, Aveen Bannon, told the Herald: "I think what has happened with mushrooms is that people are being urged to eat more fruit and vegetables, but the mushroom is being forgotten about because people think they're not as healthy. But, they are. They're very, very high in fibre. They contain a good few B vitamins and they have a little bit of iron and zinc."

Despite the gloom over future sales, the current situation is bright for Irish mushroom producers, who supply 100pc of the Irish market.

hnews@herald.ie