The Magic of Mushrooms
Did you know that fungi can survive in outer space? That they can clean pollution? And according to the latest streaming success “The Last of Us” also be the source of the next pandemic turning us all into zombies? Why is that relevant? Trends help us identify emerging longings, narratives and mindsets and explore future opportunities. So let's look at some of the companies that are utilizing the power of mushrooms to create innovative products that are sustainable and sexy.
THE BRIDGE BETWEEN HEALTH & BEAUTY
Mushrooms are having their beauty and well-being moment, so let's highlight the key strategies surrounding this powerhouse ingredient that is heralded as nothing less than the new CBD.
1. BOTANICAL BRAND DNA
Mushrooms are at the center of the Berlin brand Herbar. Their debut facial oils are packed with mushroom extracts that adapt to the unique imbalances of the skin and train and strengthen skin against everyday stresses.
„Fungi and adaptogens are the
past, the present and the future.“
–– Catarina Oliveira Co-founder & CEO of Herbar
2. RENEWABLE PIGMENTS EXTRACTED FROM FUNGI
Mushrooms are at the core of ever-evolving sustainability too, as showcased by projects such as Alchemic Mycology (by Jesse Adler) where color pigments for beauty products are developed by extracting them from mushrooms. These pigments are natural, non-toxic, and sustainable, making them an excellent alternative to synthetic dyes.
REINVENTING THE FASHION INDUSTRY
1. RECREATING AN ICON MADE WITH ROOTS OF MUSHROOMS
Mushrooms are multiplying all over fashion brands too. Adidas and designer Daniel Bailey partnered to create a pair of sneakers called "Ozlucent", which come with a shoebox made of biodegradable mushroom material. The material was developed by the British company Magical Mushroom and is capable of decomposing in the ground within 45 days. However, the box can also last for 30 years when kept in dry environments.
2. RENEWABLE LEATHER ALTERNATIVE
Stan Smith Mylo™, the first adidas shoe to be made using Mylo: a new mushroom-based material innovation that looks and feels like leather – soft, supple, but a more renewable alternative. Made from renewable mycelium – the underground roots of mushrooms - Mylo is created using a highly efficient grow taking less than two weeks. The process takes advantage of a cutting-edge vertical agriculture technique, allowing the mycelium to be grown in a space-efficient system that increases the yield per square foot.
FOODS OF THE FUTURE
TRANSFORMING THE FOOD SYSTEM
Consumers and brands alike are eager for more humane and sustainable food products. Meanwhile, the demand is growing for familiar whole cuts — like chicken breast, fish filets, and bacon — that satisfy or exceed the expectations for flavor, texture, and forms of animal-based meats. Some estimates are that half the meat sold by 2040 will come from non-animal sources.
To meet that market, companies like Ecovative pioneered research into growing delicious whole cuts and bacon from mushrooms. These innovative products have the taste and texture of real meat and grow in just over a week. Compare that to six months for a pig, and about three years for a single cow. What’s more, existing mushroom farms can add this product line without building new facilities.
Fun Fact: Mushroom DNA is closer to the animal kingdom than it is to other plants’ DNA, which is one of the reasons it works so well as a meat replacement in taste.
„We believe in a food system
that provides accessible nutrition for
everyone while preserving our planet.”
MULTIFUNCTIONAL WELLNESS BOOSTER
In line with the commercial blurring of health and beauty, stress relief and self-care are more interlinked than ever. “As elevated stress and anxiety continue to drive consumers to seek out solutions in the beauty and wellness worlds, I’ve noticed more and more brands answering these concerns with mushroom-powered products,” Alexia Inge, co-founder and co-CEO of UK e-tailer Cult Beauty, told Editorialist. In a post-Covid landscape, consumers are also looking for energy and immune support in their wellness purchases, offering mushrooms a chance to shine.
New, agile indie brands are capitalising on this with sophisticated and attractively packaged supplements bordering health, beauty and wellness. Mojo launched in the US in late 2021, blending functional mushrooms, such as lion’s mane, with Ayurvedic herbs into gummies for energy and productivity. The effects of the fruit-flavoured chews are likened (cleverly) by the brand to a micro dosing trip without the psychedelics, promising an “afterglow” four hours after ingestion.
STAY RELEVANT IN THE FUTURE
THE FUTURE IS FUNGI
These are just some examples of how mushrooms are being utilized to create sustainable and sexy products. As more research is conducted, we may see even more innovative uses of mushrooms in the future.
If you want to learn more about the longings, behaviors and culture in our changing world subscribe to our newsletter or reach out directly.
Author: Katharina Kiéck
Founder and CEO of LoyalSea
The anthropologist originally wanted to become a museum curator or mixed martial arts pro – a far cry from her focus on pushing diversity in media production today. Between one and the other she worked as futurist, brand strategist at Twitter and CSO at an Artificial Intelligence Start-Up.
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