The Versatility of the ‘Shroom

Posted February 25, 2022 by Alyssa Stahr

Research is one of my favorite things to do at Brightly Creative. New products, the latest trends, food themes, etc. are not only great fodder for the content I create, but the innovative concepts that food and beverage developers come up with astound me. And, every once in a while, something comes along that is a powerhouse trend that can’t be ignored. In 2021, plant-based really took the world by storm, but in 2022 it’s becoming a way of life in almost every trend report and product blog I read. 

The mushroom has kind of always been there as a plant-based meat alternative on menus (hello, portobello) before the plant-based burger boom expanded to the Beyond Burgers of the world. But now, I’m seeing the mushroom on a rapidly expanding packaged product ingredient list — even in beverages. 

Even Netflix got in on the “adaptable and humble mushroom” craze with Fantastic Fungi (they even clear oil spills; is there anything they can’t do?), and Bakery and Snacks says that mushrooms “certainly deserve their status as a superfood and will increasingly pop up as the leading ingredient, a flavoring, or even to add depth and functionality.” 

Mushroom-centric product launches just this month include Lifeway Foods’ MSHRM OAT line of functional mushrooms that aim to calm, support and focus. They contain reishi, a blend of “adaptogenic mushrooms,” and Lion’s Mane mushroom, respectively.

We also saw Mushroom Crisps from Rhythm Superfoods’ debut at the Winter Fancy Food Show, a gluten-free white button mushroom crispy snack.

Don’t like coffee or the jitters followed by the crash but love mushrooms? MUD/WTR is a coffee alternative made with — you guessed it — adaptogenic mushrooms. Or, go to bed with Four Sigmatic’s Mushroom Cacao with Reishi “Chill” caffeine-free beverage mix. 

Rarely do we find one ingredient that can really do it all. And, with the global functional mushroom market estimated to reach $19.33 billion by 2030, amounting to a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.3%, the ‘shroom’s growth is truly groundbreaking.

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