Functional Mushrooms: Trends That Fuel Popularity

A Colorado-based food tech creating mycelium-based meat alternatives, Meati Foods, delivered its whole-cut animal-free meat samples and launch its first commercial in 2021. Photo courtesy of Meati Foods

The demand for mushrooms—of all varieties—has never been higher. And as plant-based diets are growing, people are leaning towards mushrooms to satiate their hunger and using mushrooms as a viable substitute for animal protein. That’s why mushrooms have gained such momentum as it nears superfood status.

Now, mushrooms are popping up in various categories, including medicine. Mushrooms are no longer considered simply part of a prepared meal or fresh produce—they’re an essential ingredient used for a plethora of purposes.

Through the years, consumer interest in mushrooms has always been higher than business interests, now, the gap is continuing to grow. For instance, a recent study shows that consumer interest in mushrooms has grown by 64 percent, while business interest has only grown by 19 percent.

Functional Fungi

A prominent reason why mushrooms are growing in popularity is due to the health benefits they provide since they’re rich in nutrients and vitamins. In fact, a study published in Advances In Nutrition shows that individuals who incorporated mushrooms into their diets had a significantly lower risk of getting cancer. 

Meat Alternative

People have constantly been researching meat alternatives. The industry has recently shown a growing interest in using mycelium that grows into various types of fungi and, ultimately, mushrooms. This is because they resemble different meat cuts in terms of shape and texture.

Two prominent companies, Meati Foods and Atlast Foods Co, have grown a variety of mycelium to use as meat alternatives. Other companies, such as The Curators, have launched burgers and meatballs that are actually made from mushrooms. 


There’s a growing interest in mushrooms as functional foods, particularly adaptogens. This is mainly because these adaptogens are natural herbs that can help the body physically manage stress. As more people look for stress management techniques, the interest in mushrooms as adaptogens also grows.

Besides this, mushrooms offer other benefits as well. For example, fungi fight off fatigue and enhance one’s attention as well.

–PuraPhy Staff Report