How Could Cloning An Ugly Black Ball of Fungi Be Worth £860?

5 December 2008

Scientists in France plan to use cloning technology to produce "black diamond" Périgord truffles, traditionally selling for up to £860 a kilo hoping to 'increase demand'.

With Perigord truffles are now in short supply due to national production falling from 1,000 tonnes per year in the early 20th century to only 40-50 tonnes per year today,  the French region of Corrèze is embarking upon a three-year project with Delpeyrat, a producer  of truffle conserves since the 19th century, and STEF-TFE, a food transport company in order to revive the industry by producing a more consistent crop. They plan to cultivate cloned truffles together with baby trees in test tubes until they form, and then plant the trees so they can mature naturally. 

But look at that thing.  Would you pay £860 for it?  And surely if it's low in demand, increasing the supply isn't going to help its sales, exactly?

[Telegraph]

5 comments

  • chrisg
    Simple economics - if something sells 100 per year at the moment at £1, better to have 500 customers paying 50p.
  • ungulator
    if that truffle weighs 1kg, i'm michael jackson!
  • PaulT
    ANy item has a value of whatever people are willing to pay for it. If a majority of truffle buyers think that it's "worth" £860, then it's worth £860. If production is increased but demand still outstrips supply, the price won't drop. If there are people still rich/stupid enough to pay that money for a fungus, they'll sell.
  • RedSkywalker
    Ever seen a freshly slaughtered cow, bleeding and shitting? but I bet you just gobble up the old steak n chips, yes? If people ever saw the real cost of what they were eating they might think twice about eating it! OK, rant over
  • Holy B.
    [...] disagree – it’s obviously truffles, but we’re not going to quibble in the face of such humanitarian [...]

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