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The Great Truffle Crisis of 2021

The price of the prized tubers has doubled, tripled and even quadrupled for distributors.

Truffle season is into action, as slices of the sought-after tuber start raining down on plates of pasta and risotto around the world.

This year, however, the steady flow of truffles to Europe and the U.S. is threatened like everything from oatmeal to scallops. Prices are skyrocketing in 2021, making the luxury product too expensive, even for restaurants that are used to pricey ingredients.

As the manging director of Mr Truffle Limited, this year is the highest starting price in my memory and when supply is dwindling, the price might skyrocket closer to the holidays. The 2021 tubers are double the price of 2019.

For truffles the problem isn’t so much the ubiquitous broken supply chain as it’s climate issues, coupled with urbanization. Hot summers with little rain, like the one Italy just experienced, can significantly cut yields. Likewise, as the production of local wines such as Barolo has increased, the vineyards have encroached on land that traditionally was truffle habitat. Besides inhibiting truffle yields, a lack of rain is bad especially for the fungi’s dimensions rather than scent and aroma.

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