We are entering into a mushroom boom: the New York Times have named them “Ingredient of the Year 2022”; Netflix’s recent documentary Fantastic Fungi landed with critical acclaim, making audiences see mushrooms differently; and the number of small urban farms growing mushrooms in Europe and the United States has seen a massive uptake since the COVID-19 pandemic. Mushrooms are the “Food of the Future", to such an extent that NASA awarded several fungi-focused research teams prize money in the first round of its Deep Space Food Challenge, which focuses on innovative food production methods for future space living. Closer to home, there is a shift in consumer behaviour in the Middle East, whereby a significant part of the population seeks a cleaner lifestyle and healthy alternatives to conventional foods, with the United Arab Emirates as a leader in the trend.
Mushrooms are an ideal companion to plant-based eating as they are the natural alternative proteins. Bursting with flavor, a meaty texture and umami taste, specialty mushrooms are an easy-to-use everyday delight, that can elevate all dishes & transcend cuisines. They make a highly nutritious offering, containing no fat, no cholesterol, but high protein content per calorie and complete amino acids in addition to being a rich source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre & protein. They offer immense health benefits, they help fight cancers, and infections & improve mental health. Below Farm’s mushrooms’ varieties include those that show the strongest health impacts, Lion’s Mane, Oyster, and Shiitake.