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Mushroom Market Booming on Alternative Protein, Other Trends  

flat lay photography of mushrooms

Mushrooms are currently thriving at the intersection of multiple industry trends, including alternative proteins, food as health, and countertop gardening. A recent report by Grand View Research projected that the global mushroom market value is expected to exceed $50 billion in the next seven years.

“There’s been a huge increase in both public and scientific interest in the powers of mushrooms,” Scott Kaiser, MD, director of cognitive health at the Brain Health Center at the Pacific Neuroscience Institute told MSN. “They’re very appealing because they specifically help deal with things like insomnia, mood, and stress.”

Medicinal Mushrooms

Interest in medicinal mushrooms has grown steadily over the past five years. The pandemic supercharged this trend as consumers incorporated more foods that offer natural health and immunity benefits into their diets.

Supplements, extracts, and protein powders from mushrooms, including chaga, lion’s mane, reishi, and shiitake continue to grow in popularity. The global reishi mushroom industry alone is projected to reach $5.06 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2021 to 2027, according to Allied Market Research.

Functional beverage offerings that incorporate these supplements, such as mushroom coffee, are also expanding. Pre-blended mushroom coffees and powdered creamers have entered the market, alongside a growing number of coffee alternatives. Popular brands like MUD\WTR and Four Sigmatic contain medicinal mushroom blends and boast increased energy and focus with low or no caffeine.

Plant-Based Protein Inclusions

In addition to the medicinal variations, the increase also reflects the growing demand for vegan and plant-based meat alternatives. The plant-based proteins market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 9.5% through 2027 and reach a value of $21.23 billion, according to Meticulous Market Research.

Button and shiitake mushrooms in particular are a rich source of protein, which makes them desirable meat substitutes, the report also noted.

DIY Mushroom Kits

As the pandemic increased food instability, many consumers turned to at-home gardening, with countertop growing kits particularly popular in urban areas. Prepackaged grow-your-own mushroom kits are riding the most recent wave of “pandemic produce” popularity, according the NY Daily News. (4/3)

DIY kits contain mycelium, the living organism from which mushrooms grow, and are available in multiple varieties of fungi, from oyster to king trumpet. The popularity of DIY kits is further heightened by minimal maintenance requirements — intermittent watering in a low light environment is sufficient.