This 36th edition of the Mushroom Days fair was held on May 10-12th 2023 in Den Bosh successfully. Highly anticipated event initially planned for May 2022that was postponed couple of times because of COVID. More than 100 exhibitors and visitors from all continents were present (except Antarctica, of course).
Confirming its status of biggest world mushroom fair, Dutch Mushroom Days attracted many delegations from North and South Americas, Africa, Australia, Asia. It was obvious that the mushroom business was developing rapidly all over the world – from Chile to Canada and from Ireland to Japan. Exhibitors were mainly European companies – except quite representative group of Chinese exhibitors.
As the representative of Chinese association told us during the fair – for him it seems like nearly 30% of people here were from China. We are not sure about 30%, but definitely China keeps interest to mushroom business judging not only by count of visitors, but also by feedback from engineering companies.
By default, the exhibition is seen as a place where buyers can find suppliers. But this is not one hundred percent information about Mushroom Days in the Netherlands. Most of the visitors and exhibitors are not here for the first time, and the list of exhibitors is generally the same as it was four years ago. Companies use the event to meet existing customers, assemble and motivate their own teams, strengthen their brands, and prevent competitors from taking the lead.
The most prominent stands naturally occupied the largest companies in the industry – suppliers of equipment, compost, mycelium. And there were crowded at all stands.
Labour shortage is the most obvious challenge for mushroom business in developed countries, and a lot of attention were directed to this area, including companies that offered their solution to make harvesting more efficient or even partly replace people to robots.
European style of mushroom growing step by step reaches America with its wooden shelving and Phase 1 or Phase 2 compost – visitors from USA actively choosing where to grow. On the booth of Hoving Holland and DMP – UMDIS caught our friends from American mushroom farm (24 doubles) & compost yard in a progress of active battle for Hoving/DMP to help them to rebuild their Phase 2 compost yard to Phase 3 – even if their tunnels are not enough suitable for that – as the supplier explained. “Their solutions that we already have are heavy and strong, never broke – so we are confident they will manage”, – told UMDIS American farmer, confident that his income is going to be much bigger on Phase 3 compost while use and sell it in America.
That was a long time from the last Mushroom Days in 2019. Maybe that`s the reason why in the hall were lots of people all three days – all of us missed meetings so much. Some exhibitors admitted that they had even more interested visitors than they expected, so their booths were even not able to host visitors at a time. Such popular were Amycel, or Veme Specials, and others, who always had crowds of people around their booths.
DMD also was a reason to make additional programs for some suppliers. In Horst lots of our “mushroom people” arrived one or two days earlier than the event itself started – to attend pre-program of Christiaens, GTL-Europe, and some other suppliers. Open days, farm tours and great parties from the beginning of the week took place there.
This time Polish suppliers did not organise themselves to host a common booth. So, there were less of small Polish suppliers. Most notable among Polish companies was the booth of Agro-Projects – it looks like the company used 4 years between 2019 and 2023 to become a Polish supplier which reached the scale of large Dutch suppliers in terms of products range and quality.
Another notable thing – exotic mushrooms. Chinese suppliers as Qihe or Agrinoon as well as European CNC, Veme, Eclo and others shown to us not just substrate for exotic mushrooms which they offer – but also a growing tendency of exotic mushrooms expansion in Europe.
It is well-know that Lambert switched its European facility to production of different utility things from mushroom spawn. And Christiaens had very beautiful things from spawn on their booth (from Mycelium Materials Europe) – like a woman handbag, or cake – as Mart Christiaens promotes idea of eco-friendly style of living. Bright star in this domain was the booth of the company Ecovocative (that purchased Lambert facility in Venlo) which does a great job trying to persuade the whole globe that mushrooms are perfect material for nearly everything: clothes, shoes, furniture, packaging, etc.
The industry is growing. All suppliers of turn-key solutions and equipment on their booths – like GTL-Europe or DMP, Axis, AEM, Christiaens, JF McKenna, Agro-Projects… – as well as all others were very busy all days. That shows that new farms are going to be built round the world, and old farms are going to become modern and more effective. Same with compost yards and casing facilities. Nice to see that our industry is lucky to have new investments.
Companies were glad to talk about their innovations – UMDIS got lots of information about Amycel`s new strain Exxcalibur, making picking easy; Alpie`s E-Wash, helping to clean shelves; Fancom`s new software version with energy saving control; Growtime` electronic picking trolleys increasing harvesting efficiency; Checkweighscales` scales, protecting picker to put more mushrooms in the punnet; TenCate Nicolon`s even stronger than ever nets, and some others.
Of course, the largest interest of visitors attracted picking solutions. GTL-Europe offered tilting shelves and belts that transfer mushrooms to the packing store. TLT Automation offers also tilting shelves but shows it in a complex project of whole farm. Christiaens offers not just tilting shelves but also drawer system – where mushrooms move underneath the picker`s hands while the picker does not move at all. Myconics shows the robots` “fingers”, gently taking the mushrooms. Soft Grig project (granted by European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme) is now also working on “fingers”. While Axis, company from Ireland, shows already very good working harvesting conveyor which transports the mushrooms from the beds to the Mushroom Processing Unit where they are cut, graded, weight and packed. Soon Axis plans to lounge their new robotic system – to work with their harvesting conveyor – be sure UMDIS will show you.
For now… on Mushroom Days – lots of visitors looked with a huge interest on those miracle picking solutions, dreamed about… and went to buy some new electric picking trolleys. But with confidence that future is coming!
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