As 2021 approaches, there are multiple signs mushrooms will be one of the top trending foods for the year ahead.
The reason is simple: Fresh mushrooms’ multiple attributes align with the changing dynamics of both dining in and dining out. A nutrient powerhouse, mushrooms also bring a filling, comforting taste. Mushrooms are one of the most sustainably produced foods and are also ideal for holding flavor in carryout dishes.
Five reasons mushrooms will be a 2021 food trend
Grocery shoppers are buying mushrooms at a near record pace. According to grocery sales data, mushrooms have been one of the top three produce items realizing the highest sales compared to the same period last year with weekly sales increases ranging from 20-40% throughout the spring and summer.
Consumers report they plan to eat more mushrooms in the future. Even with consumer demand for mushrooms at record highs, a recent survey suggests the demand has staying power. 25% of consumers plan to cook more with fresh mushrooms “after things get back to normal.” Another 63% plan to use mushrooms “about the same.”
Chefs consider mushrooms ideal for takeout foods. With delivery and takeout on the rise, mushrooms are an ideal ingredient for helping meals retain flavor and moisture, particularly in meat/mushroom blended dishes. “Carryout has become more critical than ever for our business, and the meat/mushroom burger we’ve had on menu for years is now more popular than ever thanks to mushrooms helping the patty stay juicy and tasty during travel,” said Fiore Moletz, owner of Burgh’ers Brewing in Pittsburgh.
Mushrooms are a prime ingredient for the plant-forward movement. According to a recent study by Hearst, 40% of consumers have tried plant-based products, and 25% of consumers are interested in eating less meat. Mushrooms, with their umami flavor and meaty quality, are an good ingredient to star in plant-based dishes or to blend with meat.
Studies conclude there are a variety of micronutrients important for supporting a healthy immune system. These three nutrients are all found in mushrooms:
- Selenium is an essential trace mineral. Selenium helps your body make special proteins called antioxidant enzymes. These play a role in preventing cell damage. For example, four crimini mushrooms can provide 38% of the recommend daily allowance of selenium.
- Vitamin D helps build and maintain strong bones by helping the body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is available via diet, supplements and sunlight, which is why it is also referred to as the “sunshine vitamin.” Vitamin D has other roles in the body, including modulation of cell growth, neuromuscular and immune function, and reduction of inflammation. One portabella mushroom, exposed to UV light, can provide 120% of the RDA for vitamin D4.
- Vitamin B6 helps convert food into usable energy and assists in the formation of neurotransmitters, red blood cells, proteins and DNA. Four whole shiitake mushrooms provide 13% of vitamin B6 RDA4.