Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Report

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Applied Economics

First Advisor

DeeVon Bailey

Abstract

This study provides an analysis of the mushroom industry in the Utah with a focus on identifying opportunities for entry into the specialty mushroom market. Determining the strategic position of the mushroom industry requires the use of local information. In this study, a local survey of consumers in Northern Utah was used to generate specific information about consumer preferences and attitudes about mushrooms and how a new entrant might be positioned to address consumers’ wants and needs related to mushrooms, and specifically specialty mushrooms. Regression analysis and trend analysis were also performed using data obtained either from the survey or secondary sources. This information is then used to base conclusions about the competitive position of potential entrants for specialty mushrooms into this market.

The results of the survey depicted that respondents have a favorable attitude towards locally-produced commodities, are highly price conscious, and were mostly unaware of some of the most important attributes of mushrooms such as their nutritional and potential health values. Results of price and production trends of shiitake mushrooms indicated that this industry is still in the development stage, but characterized by intense rivalry among firms. The results of the logit analysis provided some insights about the ability to develop marketing strategies for mushrooms based on where they are produced. These results simply indicate that most respondents look favorably on locally-grown produce but that demographic characteristics can’t be used to identify groups that are the most likely to want locally-grown produce. More respondents indicated a willingness to pay a premium for products containing the “Utah’s Own” brand than simply “locally-grown”.

Potential new entrants into the shiitake mushroom industry may capture existing market share and expand their market base by differentiating their product along the lines of versatility of use, health and nutritional benefits, and local production.

Comments

This work made publicly available electronically on May 13, 2011.

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