Truffle Demand

Truffle Demand

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    • #4367
      Michael Zablocki
      Participant

      Hello, I am new to truffles and have begun to explore the market potential in my local area in southern Ontario, Canada. Some of the restaurants I have approached have not been interested in locally grown truffles, and are more interested in imported Italian truffles, or canned truffles.

      In light of this, I wonder who everyone is selling to. Do you sell to local restaurants, online, or to some type of food distributor? As well, have you found that there is weaker demand for truffles that are not the black perigord or white truffles?

      It would be interesting to have an open conversation about whether demand for truffles is higher, or even lower than what you expected.

      Any info you could share is appreciated. Thank you!

    • #4368
      Fabrice Caporal
      Keymaster
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      Michael, I don’t have first hand experience, but have discussed the matter with several people with that experience. I short it boils down to education with product in hand. Potential buyers are used to one source and are rarely ready to experiment, however when they are presented with the new product and suggested to try they quickly realize that freshness always trumps origin and in some circumstance may even trump price.

      For species other than T. melanosporum and T. magnatum they need to have the opportunity to try for themselves and then they realize that they are not only potential substitute but they become an additional tool in their belt.

    • #4377
      Michael Zablocki
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      Fabrice, I really appreciate your reply. I also wonder if there are any food distribution companies that might be interested. That way you don’t have a lot of small buyers, but instead have some larger customers. I know some restaurants near me buy from a company called MGM truffles. Just a thought.

      If anyone else had some experience acquiring customers I would love to hear your story. Thanks!

    • #4383
      Staci O’Toole
      Participant
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      Hi Michael.
      I concur with Fabrice that there is an education process with Chef clients. In my experience with our CA grown T.Mel (Perigords)  the right Chef is willing to pay a premium for a fresh locally sourced organically grown Truffle.  The bigger issue for us has been the ability to provide a consistent supply during the peak seasons of Holidays.  This year has been an exception of course with restaurant closures and Covid.  I began importing to supplement this dilemma so I don’t have to turn my clients to competitors also importing.  I think that Olivia Martin might speak to this in her upcoming webinar on NATGA.  It would be great to have some type of collaboration amongst the growers like a clearing house where we can supplement each others orders and work together to promote our locally grown and sourced North American Truffle.

    • #4385
      Michael Zablocki
      Participant
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      Thanks Staci. I like the idea of assisting each other with the clearing house and will definitely be attending Olivia Martin’s discussion. It’s reassuring to hear that your issue in the past has been trying to keep up with demand for your product.

    • #4386
      chris petres
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      Hi Michael, I’ve been selling Canadian grown truffles here in BC for the past 4 years. I have focused on building a relationship with the chefs as opposed to the restaurants or chains. Once a chef has experienced a fresh locally grown truffle, I find they no longer want the imports. The only problem I find is having a consistent harvest week to week, season to season to provide a reliable supply for them. Truffles are best suited for an ‘ a la carte ‘ type menu, as opposed to weekly set menus. For this reason we approached restaurants that strive on pick-of-the-day service that source local ingredients near our region. Chris.

    • #4389
      Michael Zablocki
      Participant
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      Chris, thanks for the information. Pursing ‘a la carte’ restaurants seems like great advice. As well, I like the idea of building relationships with chefs for many reasons, one being that chefs can move around to different restaurants and you want them to remember you wherever they go.

    • #4513
      Simon Cartwright
      Participant
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      Hi Michael, I’m assuming your a grower and not looking to import. We have been producing now in Oregon for about 5 years with this year being the first that we have been able to pull a consistent weekly amount. Unfortunately in our area COVID restrictions have killed off the market as chefs don’t want to hold anything in their walk ins for more than a day or two as they could be shut down at a moments notice. I agree with all of the comments above. We have found that building the relationship with owner chefs who value local and can flex their menu to include a super special has been our #1 success. They see us as investing in them with fresh high quality (please take to heart the grading Olivier showed on the webinar as we have found the Australian grading is by far the best)  and so they invest in us. We have also been involved in the local foodies scene and have been relying on selling to individuals locally to help us move some truff. Having a great web page and active on social media also helps as a story goes a long way.

    • #4547
      Michael Zablocki
      Participant
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      Simon, I am just seeing your post now. I appreciate you sharing your experience and advice. It sounds like social media may be a great way to engage with individual “foodies”. Obviously having individuals to continue purchasing truffles while restaurants cannot helps. Again, relationships seem to be the common thread in everyones response. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

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