Covid-19 steepens the trajectory of an already booming functional mushroom market

The global functional mushroom market was valued at USD 25.4 billion in 2020, and it projected to reach a CAGR of 8.44% during the forecast period 2021-2026. This is according to a Functional Mushrooms Market 2021 report published by Research and Markets in October 2021. The report highlights that while demand for mushroom-based products had been increasing for some time, functional mushrooms have been ‘brought into the spotlight’ as a result of Covid-19 and the category is experiencing accelerated growth.

The global functional mushroom market is growing rapidly fuelled by functional foods gaining popularity amongst health-conscious consumers. Functional mushrooms are increasingly being used in a wide variety of healthcare and pharmaceutical products, which is also helping to drive the trend. Further, with a number of scientific studies confirming that functional mushrooms and mushroom-derived supplements ability to boost the immune system, market growth in this category has increased due to Covid-19.

“This report gives evidence to our belief that consumers are increasingly looking for natural alternatives to help boost their immunity and their wellbeing. When we launched GOODMIND™ in March 2021 we were excited to bring this category to the South African market and the uptake we have seen so far validates what we are seeing on a global scale,” says Psyence’s Chief Strategy Officer Tony Budden.

GOODMIND™ is a premium range of functional mushroom products, which include Functional Mushroom capsules and newly released water-soluble Functional Mushroom sachets. The GOODMIND™ formulas harness the power of adaptogens, which are non-toxic, non-psychoactive fungi, used for centuries in traditional medicine for their stress-relieving benefits.  GOODMIND™ is designed to nourish the mind and elevate everyday life by enhancing mental capacity and the body’s ability to adapt to stress. Available for sale online, in select retail outlets and premium coffee stores in South Africa, GOODMIND™ will be available in international markets in 2022.

The Functional Mushroom Market Report states that a number of scientific studies have confirmed the ability of functional mushrooms, and mushroom-derived supplements, to increase the effectiveness of both innate and adaptive immune systems. It also indicates that the rise in popularity in new markets is being driven by an increased demand for natural solutions to health as well as the growing acceptance of mushrooms as a ‘superfood’.

“While functional mushrooms have been around for centuries they are seen as a relatively ‘new category’ in the West, says Tony. “However, according to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, functional mushrooms have been an integral part of Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years and are widely used as a tonic for vitality, endurance, and to support a healthy immune system.”

The term ‘Functional Mushrooms’ refers to specific and mostly rare mushrooms, which are packed with antioxidants and nutritional value; Functional Mushrooms differ to psychedelic ‘magic mushrooms’ in that they are completely non-psychedelic mushrooms. Some of the most popular functional mushrooms available are Reishi, Cordyceps, Shiitake, Turkey Tail, Tremella and Chaga. According to the Research and Markets report, sales of supplements containing Reishi increased 13.5% year-on-year and Cordyceps increased 8.2%. GOODMIND™ is a blend of three different mushrooms Reishi, Cordyceps and Lion’s Mane.