Why are mushrooms so popular?
Nowadays the interest in sustainability, health, functional foods and convenience is immense. Many properties of the white mushroom are in line with the current and future food trends, which makes the mushroom a popular addition for many diets. The application of mushrooms differs for western food trends and food trends in South-East Asia.
Reasons for growing popularity of mushrooms related to western food trends
The most important western food trends nowadays are the increasing popularity in plant-based diet, health beneficial and functional foods, (vegetable) proteins, transparency, clean labels, zero food waste, local food, digitalization and convenience. The white mushrooms can be applied to almost all current western food trends, due to its favourable properties.
Researchers have noted that mushrooms can be considered “one of the most sustainably produced foods in the United States”. Mushrooms require a small amount of water, electricity and land to grow and the emission of mushrooms is 39 times lower compared with beef. So the food print on global warming is much lower for the white mushrooms. Together with the fact that mushrooms do not contain any fats and contain only 1 gram of protein per ounce, the white mushroom will be a good alternative to animal proteins and is an example of health-beneficial plant-based food which can help to reduce the share of total food in gas emissions.
The health benefits and functional application of mushrooms are tremendous. White mushrooms fit perfectly within the trend of “health beneficial and functional foods” and can go along with the trend of transparency and clean labels. Mushrooms are fat-free, low-energy-dense-foods and low in sodium. Other health promoting elements of mushrooms are the high amount of vitamin D (84 grams of white mushrooms exposed to light already provides more than the recommended daily allowance of vitamin D), vitamin B and ergothioneine and selenium which are naturally occurring antioxidants that may help protect the body’s cells.
Reasons for growing popularity of mushrooms related to food trends in South-East Asia
The urbanization results in more diversified diets in South-East Asia. This means more non-grain products as fruits, vegetables and especially an increase in animal proteins. Thereby more people are consuming processed foods. With the increasing popularity of convenience foods, the mushrooms added to these convenience foods grow in popularity as well. Thereby, the increasing demand for transparency, the desire for sustainably sourced ingredients and responsible products can result in a growing popularity of the white mushroom in Asia. The demand for transparency, sustainability and responsibility can be fulfilled by the more sustainable, fully traceable and “guarantee to be free of pesticides and heavy metals” mushrooms.
*This summary article has been written by UniPartners Wageningen and was commissioned by Scelta Mushrooms.