Why Mushrooms Are Everyone’s New Favorite Snack

Munching on mushrooms is becoming as easy as opening a bag of chips.

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When you think of mushrooms, you probably first think of criminis or baby bellas sauteed in butter, thrown into the pasta or stir fry you’re cooking for dinner. Maybe more recently, you’ve started to associate mushrooms with the aesthetic that’s become a home trend, a motif seen in decor from lamps to pillows. It’s not likely your mind goes to your grocery store’s snack aisle—but within the past year, that’s where mushrooms have started taking over.

Mushroom-based foods, drinks, and snacks have been popping up more frequently in all kinds of iterations—think coffees and chocolate bars and more—since 2022, with their popularity driven by the claim that they give your brain and body a boost. When you look at the constant innovation happening in the mushroom market, it’s pretty easy to assume that they’re set to be one of the biggest foodie trends this year—and potentially beyond. 

Bowl of dried mushrooms

Tetiana_Chudovska / Getty Images | Design: Better Homes & Gardens

With plant-based eating and a focus on wellness becoming more and more prevalent, mushrooms give anyone who follows a vegan or vegetarian diet (or just wants to consume less meat), a snack option that fits into their lifestyle. A quick search for “mushroom snacks” turns up results for crisps, granola, and even jerky, as well as other wellness-forward products like gummies and beverages. The hashtag #functionalmushrooms on TikTok has nearly 26 million views, with videos featuring advice on different ways to consume them and product recommendations.

Popadelics, a brand of dried shiitake mushroom chips, was created when co-founders Marilyn Yang and Michael Casali realized that, when they “thought about all the current snacking options available, [they] realized that they all taste the same. Kale chips, seaweed chips, the list goes on—none of these snacking trends offered anything interesting, unique or delicious,” their website reads. Popadelics (which clarifies on its platforms that their products do not include psilocybin, despite the brand’s hippie, ’60s-inspired aesthetic), has released three flavors: Trippin’ Truffle Parm, Twisted Thai Chili, and Rad Rosemary and Salt, so snackers can satisfy a savory, spicy, or salty craving. I’ve tried them myself, and while I was quite skeptical at first (and it took a minute to wrap my mind around the fact that I was eating mushrooms out of a bag), I can confirm that the seasoning gives them great flavor and the crunch is impressive.

Buy it: Popadelics Crunchy Mushroom Chips Variety Pack, $30, amazon.com

You can also find products that allow you to incorporate mushrooms as a quick topping to any dish: Patagonia, a company known for promoting sustainability and living a healthy lifestyle, has jumped on the trend with their pre-packaged Mushroom Savory Grains (you just need to boil them for 10 minutes). If you prefer to drink your mushrooms, there’s an abundance of options: mushroom matcha, non-alcoholic seltzers, a turmeric blend—the list goes on.

Within the wellness world, which was valued at more than $4 trillion in 2020, food and beverage isn’t the only category that has people searching for shrooms. An article from yahoo! on 2023 wellness trends reports that the fungi is being added as an ingredient in skincare and beauty products to reduce inflammation, and searches for mushroom powder are spiking.

Studies have pointed to how adding mushrooms to your diet can protect brain health, stimulate a healthier gut, and more. They’re also a great source of vitamin D, and substituting them for meat can decrease your sodium intake and promote lower cholesterol. And while claims like improving mental health and decreasing risk of cancer are generally new and not heavily researched, eating more mushrooms definitely won’t hurt you. 

While this increased interest seems sudden, it’s important to note that we’ve been consuming mushrooms since prehistoric times. Wellness trends come and go, so there’s no way to know for sure if the gummies and the coffees will stick around—but the concept of eating mushrooms has been around forever, so that’s definitely not going anywhere. Another thing that’s guaranteed: However you decide to add mushrooms to your diet, it’s an interesting and exciting new way to snack.

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