HEA - Truffles

Contact HEA

HEA Forms & Fees

Media Articles

HEA Frequently Asked Questions

HEA Members Area

6.30      Truffles

6.30.1      Truffle industry profile

Truffles are the underground fruiting bodies of fungi that live in a close symbiotic relationship with suitable host plants. The highest value truffles grown in New Zealand are the Périgord black truffle (Tuber melanosporum) and the Bianchetto white truffle (Tuber borchii), both Northern Hemisphere species. Truffles may fetch 2-3 thousand dollars per kilo on the local retail market.  High levels of black truffle production in Australia mean that the retail price of black truffles there is significantly lower. Prices in Europe fluctuate from year to year depending on the size of the harvest.

Truffles are a relatively new crop to New Zealand. The first black truffles produced from NZ mycorrhized trees were in Gisborne in 1993. The first commercial production of Bianchetto white truffle was in Christchurch in 2008. Since then the number of people establishing truffière throughout NZ has grown. This growth has been due in part to increasing awareness of NZ truffle growing and production through the media and truffle use by NZ chefs. In addition, commercial nurseries have become involved in promotion of truffle growing with associated increased supply of truffle inoculated tree seedlings.

The NZ Truffle Association (NZTA) (www.nztruffles.org.nz, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) represents the interests of truffle growers and assists with the promotion and development of truffle growing in New Zealand. The NZTA estimates that there may now be around 300-400 truffières of varying size established throughout NZ.  The majority of truffle trees planted prior to 2004 are in Canterbury, whilst in the last 10 or so years, planting have been more spread throughout NZ. The black truffle tends to prefer warmer climates, whilst Bianchetto can be grown in the cooler parts of NZ less suitable for black truffle. Most truffières have small to medium sized plantings of 0.5 to 2 ha. Approximately 30-50 truffières are now producing truffles and many are due to start production in the next few years. The increase in production has been assisted by the increased number of trained truffle dogs as well as several professional handlers with dogs working to find truffle. Total production is not known but the NZTA estimates that truffle production was between 200-500 kg in 2016. Only a portion of the total production is of high enough quality for consumption and restaurant sale with the remainder used for inoculation of seedlings or may go unharvested. Currently almost all of New Zealand’s truffle production enters the domestic market and there is still room for further development of the NZ market. In particular, the use of truffles to produce NZ truffle products is limited.

New Zealand has potential to supply the high value markets of SE Asia, Europe and the United States during the “off-season” for European production.  The challenge for these markets, particularly those in Europe, is to appreciate the availability of “out of season” truffle. 

Truffles are a prescribed product under the Horticulture Export Authority. The NZTA continues to prepare for exports by developing an Export Marketing Strategy in accordance with the requirements of the Horticultural Export Authority. The current draft of this EMS incorporates the NZ Truffle Quality Control Standards (2008) prepared by NZTA.  The industry is giving consideration to adopting the UNCE FFV-53 2010 standard.  This is an internationally recognised standard, also being adopted by the Australian Truffle Growers Association.