Are we on the cusp of a mushroom renaissance?
Mushrooms have been eaten since the earliest history; a constant, in cuisines and medicine.
So, harnessing their functional properties is nothing new but the mushroom is turning out to be the perfect modern food.
Low in calories and carbohydrates, fat, and sodium, cholesterol-free, chock full of vital nutrients and fibre, and, importantly, apparently loaded with nutraceutical properties.
There is something of a boom in the mushroom world at the moment, in foraging, in sales of medicinal products, in grow-your-own mushroom kits.
So how is the food and supplements industry taking advantage of this boom? And how might they be used in the functional foods of the future?
There are 140,000 species of mushrooms, and still lots to learn about many of them. So, are we on the cusp of a mushroom renaissance?
Andy Overall, Field Mycologist
Andy Overall has been studying fungi for the past 27 years. During which he set up Fungi to be With, the objective of which was to connect people with nature and promote fungi and protection of greenspace and woodlands, via walks and workshops.
He is group leader of the London Fungus Group and Fungi Recorder for the London Natural History Society. His work also encompasses baseline fungi surveys for the Royal Parks, and the National Trust among other authorities.
He writes regularly for Field Mycology a quarterly journal produced by the British Mycological Society of which he is a long term member. In 2017 he self published his first book on fungi, which centers on Urban Fungi, drawn from his experience of working with the fungi of Greater London.
Simon Salter, Co-Founder, DIRTEA
Founded by brothers and serial entrepreneurs Simon and Andrew Salter, who in 2020 made The Forbes “30 Under 30” list, after spending 12 years building successful brands and businesses, the DIRTEA range harnesses the healing and transformative power of mushrooms to offer optimum health and wellness benefits.
In just over a year, DIRTEA has become a leading authority in the wellness space of mushrooms, with one of the world’s largest TIK Tok accounts educating everyone about the health benefits mushrooms offer.
DIRTEA also pioneered the world’s first ever Mushroom Coffee Bar in Selfridges, is stocked exclusively in Soho House, and can also be found in Daylesford, Planet Organic and more recently the W Hotel in London, where they have launched the UK’s first ‘Brain Boosting’ menu.
Zoey Henderson, Founder, Fungtn
Zoey founded the Fungtional Brew Company with a desire to bring more functional herbs and fungi into the mainstream. Creating more mindful options for conscious consumers looking to reduce their alcohol consumption and empower their health.
Zoey has been in the Hospitality industry for over 15 years, across bars, restaurants, events and as a venue and business owner. Her past role as a mindful drinking consultant opened up the world of no and low and this is where she saw the functional gap in the category.
An entrepreneur with a passion for health and wellness, her brand Fungtn aims to bring functional drinking into the low alcohol, craft beer space.
Grayson Hart, Founder, Puresport
Grayson is a former professional rugby player, with a career that spanned 14 years.
After finding the power that natural alternatives had to overcome a reliance on pain killers, Grayson was inspired to create Puresport to provide trusted and tested natural products to optimise mind and body with a focus on mushrooms, cbd and other adaptogens.