KANSAS CITY — Mushroom mania is running rampant in recent innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic supercharged interest in the functional fungi as consumers increasingly seek more foods that offer natural health and immunity benefits. In fact, the global mushroom market value is expected to exceed $50 billion in the next seven years, according to a recent report by Grand View Research.

Mushrooms also have broken out into the adaptogenic space and are being incorporated into stress-reducing foods and beverages. Popular varieties include reishi, chaga, maitake, shiitake and lion’s mane. The global reishi mushroom industry alone is projected to reach $5.06 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2021 to 2027, according to Allied Market Research.

“Our data show these mushrooms are still novel ingredients, so they have a moderate consumer liking score,” said Kishan Vasani, co-founder and chief executive officer of Spoonshot, during a March 12 presentation at the virtual Future Food-Tech summit. “The functionalities of these mushrooms can be enhanced by combining them with other ingredients, and their acceptance can be significantly improved through indulgent formats.”

One emerging ingredient within the world of mushrooms is cordyceps. With potential health benefits ranging from a stronger immune system, more energy, improved endurance and better stamina, consumer interest in cordyceps has grown 86% over the last 12 months, according to Spoonshot.

This shroom boom was predicted by both Kroger Co. and Whole Foods Market in late 2020.

“2021 will be a breakout year for mushrooms,” Kroger said in its top food predictions for 2021, which it published in December 2020. “The versatile vegetable is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, and can easily elevate everyday recipes with its warm umami flavor. Consumers should expect to see mushrooms play a starring role in a variety of new products in 2021, including blended plant-based proteins, condiments, spices, seasonings and more.”

Whole Foods, in its top food trend predictions for 2021 published in October 2020, mentioned mushrooms as a trending ingredient.

“The lines are blurring between the supplement and grocery aisles, and that trend will accelerate in 2021,” Whole Foods said. “That means superfoods, probiotics, broths and sauerkrauts. Suppliers are incorporating functional ingredients like vitamin C, mushrooms and adaptogens to foster a calm headspace and support the immune system. For obvious reasons, people want this pronto.”

View slideshow of new products made with mushrooms.