The global truffle industry continues to go from strength to strength. Recent forecasts predict the global truffle market can hit 6 billion within the next 20 years. That’s a staggering amount of money and a good indication of just how popular truffles have become.
The high price of black truffles is the major reason the industry is valued so highly. But is this value something that will last, or is it simply a bubble like the famous tulip mania of the 1600’s?
To find out, we’ll look at the factors behind the black truffle price and try to work out what the future holds for this trending luxury food.
But be warned, if you’re hoping for black truffle prices to drop you could be in for a long wait.
What Are The Prices For Each Species Of Black Truffle?
The 2021 market prices for black truffle can be found below. It makes for interesting reading and clearly shows the difference in price between the Chinese black truffle, and the other three species.
Why Are European Black Truffles Worth So Much More?
The reason people love truffles is their distinctive taste and to put it simply, European black truffles taste best.
It shouldn’t be surprising. The black truffle is native to Europe and thrives in the Mediterranean climate. Discerning chefs and diners know there’s a massive difference in the flavor of European truffles and those grown in China, or other countries. That’s not to say you can’t find good truffles outside of Europe, but the best truffles are grown in Europe.
This becomes more important when you remember that ruffles are a luxury food. The fine-dining industry is based on providing the very best. European Black Truffles are without peer in this regard, and so demand is always high.
There’s also a degree of name-recognition which goes into the high-value of European Truffles. In the same way that a premium is placed on sparkling wine from the Champagne region, European Black Truffles enjoy a certain status which keeps their prices elevated.
How Is The Price Of The Black Truffle Worked Out?
Like most commodities, it comes down to supply and demand.
Demand for black truffle has never been higher.
High-end hotels and restaurants in Europe and the United States remains the main purchaser, but over recent years, black truffles have started to find their way into high-street restaurants and are increasingly being used by home-chefs.
The market for truffles has also taken off in other parts of the world. Wealthy countries in the Middle East and Asia have an abundance of cash-rich consumers happy to pay top dollar for the best (European) black truffles on the market.
This increase in demand alone would have pushed black truffle prices to new highs, but the lack of supply is threatening to take black truffle prices into the stratosphere.
A shortage of black truffles is nothing new, though. In fact, the seeds of the current crisis were sewn over a hundred years starting with the First World War and continuing through to the Second World War.
These wars killed millions of young men and with their deaths generations of truffle growing expertise was lost.
Not only that, but the wars also devastated the French countryside. This was once prime truffle growing land, producing thousands of tons each year. By the end of the Second World War, thousands of acres of truffle forest had been lost, never to return.
Truffle Growing Land Today
Thanks to truffle farms such as us and Green Initiatives spearheaded by the E.U., the green shoots of recovery are starting to appear. New forests are being planted, and the natural eco-system is beginning to return.
However, the new forests are a drop in the ocean compared with the trees that were lost.
The demand for black truffle is more robust the ever, but there simply isn’t enough supply, which is causing the record prices we’ve seen over the past few years.
Could Truffle Prices Fall In A Recession?
The luxury goods market has always been recession-proof. It’s powered by high-income consumers who aren’t impacted by recessions in the same way as the average consumer.
The fine-dining market is the same. High-end restaurants remain busy no matter what the global economy is doing.
Black Truffles fall firmly into the luxury goods bracket.
Nobody can say for sure if a recession is on the horizon, but black truffles will maintain their value regardless.
How Can I Benefit From The High Price Of Black Truffles?
One option is to grow your own. Don’t be under any illusions though, growing truffles is extremely difficult and you could be waiting decades before you harvest your first truffle. Folks looking to enjoy experience the thrill of producing their own truffle can try this, but if you’re looking for big profits this isn’t the way to go.
Another option is to go truffle hunting. This can be a lot of fun, but you’ll need a trained dog and plenty of time on your hands. Truffle hunters in the wild can hunt for weeks without finding anything.
Truffle hunting in the wild can also be a dangerous business. It’s certainly not for the faint-hearted. Truffle hunters have been shot at in parts of France and Italy as locals seek to prevent outsiders from finding the valuable truffles.