February 23, 2022 – For the fourth consecutive year, mushrooms have been named a top trend by food industry trend spotters. Capping the 2022 trend forecast season, The New York Times recently named mushrooms the “Ingredient of the Year” and an essential food for the plant-based movement.
For similar reasons, MSNBC declared mushrooms a 2022 “Healthy Food Trend,” while Delish named them to their “Top 12 Trends to Look Out for in 2022,” suggesting they will continue to be featured in more recipes this year. Mashed celebrated mushrooms by noting “This Surprising Ingredient will be Everywhere in 2022.” Specialty Food Magazine in its “10 food and Drink Trends Set to Soar in 2022” wrote, “Versatile mushrooms are not brand new to the superfood category, but their cult-like status is reaching the masses today.”
Experts in both retail and foodservice note multiple factors are converging to drive mushrooms’ continued recognition on trend lists.
Anne-Marie Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics and author of comprehensive industry insights analyses like “The Power of Produce” and “The Power of Meat,” explained mushrooms’ staying power and that the spotlight will likely continue to shine on them:
“There are three levers of growth for any product, brand or category: You can have more people buy it, have people buy it more often and have people spend a little more because they are buying more or experimenting with different varieties,” Roerink said. “The more of these that apply, the stronger the trend. Mushrooms hit this growth trifecta during the pandemic, and pre-pandemic mushrooms enjoyed a strong engagement as well.”
“That relates back to mushrooms’ versatility. They can be a center of plate much like meat; think portabellas,” Roerink continued. “It can be an ingredient for soup and stew season. But it’s also great for grilling and salads in the summer season. So that year-around engagement drives mushrooms to be a constant presence in people’s lives and on trend lists.”
Pam Smith, RDN, president/founder, Shaping America’s Plate Inc., notes that an array of facts are driving mushrooms up trend lists.
“Mushrooms’ nutritional benefits, plant-forward role and sustainable attributes are highly attractive to consumers at home and to menu developers in foodservice,” Smith said. “But, most of all, they are the ‘it’ ingredient because of their ultimate versatility; they play a key role in the planet’s favorite foods – pizza, pasta, burgers, beverage, even desserts – and work across the board for so many menu types: Asian, Italian, Latin and American fare. And mushrooms, with their inherent meaty qualities and umami are the ideal central ingredient for chefs offering plant-based, plant-forward dishes. Bringing all those elements together — flavor, function, form, and footprint — make mushrooms a particularly appealing application for today’s menu.”
Roerink noted that retailers and foodservice providers have an ideal opportunity to leverage the mushroom trend. “Customers’ willingness to experiment is an invitation for retailers and restaurants to feature a variety of mushrooms,” she noted. “In this case, it’s really important to provide taste and texture descriptions and fun recipes. Meal stations that feature all parts of a recipe/dinner have worked extremely well in the past year as people are looking for inspiration. Including mushrooms as part of meal kits is also an ideal way to introduce people to new varieties and flavors.”