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Mushroom Mania 2024: Functional Fungi Sprouting on Restaurant Menus

One of the most highly searched foods in 2023, functional mushrooms are poised to become one of the most popular restaurant food trends in 2024. Reflecting a broader trend towards sustainable, cleaner, and planet-centric eating, mushrooms are a versatile meat-alternative in the ever-evolving landscape of food choices. 

Set to be a stand-out ingredient in 2024, demand for functional mushrooms like chaga, tremella, and lion's mane isn't slowing down anytime soon, with the global market expected to be worth over 19 billion dollars by 2030. Chock-filled with important vitamins and minerals, with benefits ranging from gut and heart health support to blood sugar regulation, these adaptogenic foods are predicted to become a staple in restaurant kitchens everywhere.

Benefits of Mushrooms

Flavor and Texture

Not only are mushrooms a nutritional powerhouse, but their hearty texture helps fill you up, and they're a versatile ingredient to incorporate in many dishes for an extra boost of flavor.

One of the factors driving the fungi boom is the mushroom’s meaty texture that makes them a versatile plant-based ingredient for creating vegan versions of meat-based menu favorites. Known for their distinct umami earthiness, mushrooms can be enjoyed in fresh or dried forms, adding depth and flavor to any dish, and requiring minimal ingredients to create a flavorful and satisfying dish.  

Health and Wellness

Beyond their culinary appeal, mushrooms offer a multitude of health benefits. An excellent  source of vitamins, protein and fiber, mushrooms are a nutritional powerhouse, offering essential elements such as Vitamin D, B, selenium, potassium,  and antioxidants.  

  • Cardiovascular Health: Compounds in mushrooms support cardiovascular health by helping regulate blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  

  • Brain-Boosting Properties: Menu items containing functional mushrooms are surging in popularity for their brain-boosting as well.

  • Mental Health and Wellness: Acting as adaptogens, mushrooms are effective for managing stress, anxiety, and fatigue, and boosting energy, mood, and overall vitality.  

  • Bone Health and Immunity: Despite mushrooms' other health benefits, it's the vitamin D that really stands out. The vitamin D present in UV-exposed mushrooms not only may help strengthen bones, but it also regulates the production of proteins the body needs to fend off bacterial and viral infections.

  • Digestive Health: The combination of B vitamins (riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid) in mushrooms is also a key to the fungi's nutritional values, helping maintain healthy digestive and nervous systems, as well as healthy skin and hormonal balance. Mushrooms also help to maintain optimum weight, regulate cholesterol,  and balance blood sugar levels.


Plant-based food and the vegan movement are no longer on the fringes of society. As sustainability and increasing attention to climate change continue to shape the consumer appetite, mushrooms' earth-friendly qualities make them quite appealing. Naturally enriching soil and requiring relatively few resources to grow, mushrooms support regenerative agriculture, further burnishing their eco-friendly image. 

Mushroom Trends for 2024

Lion's Mane

A shaggy, cascade-shaped mushroom, surging in popularity for its suggested brain health benefits, expect to see it blended into coffee drinks, teas, powders and more in 2024.

Turkey Tail

With searches for this mushroom on TikTok exceeding 60 million views in 2023, this mushroom extract that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries, may support immune function. 


Certain mushroom varieties, such as reishi, cordyceps, and chaga, are considered adaptogenic. They are believed to help the body adapt to stress and promote overall well-being. These mushrooms are commonly used in herbal and traditional medicine practices and have exploded in popularity.

Mushroom Coffee

Emerging as a unique and adventurous trend in the beverage industry, mushroom coffee combines the earthy flavors of mushrooms with other complementary ingredients, creating intriguing flavor profiles.

By blending coffee beans with powdered medicinal mushrooms, including reishi or lion's mane, mushroom coffee offers potential health benefits such as reduced stress, improved focus, and enhanced cognitive function.

Mushroom Desserts

Creamy and delicious, with a unique flavor profile, mushroom-based desserts are the latest trend in fungi faves.

Mushroom Cheesecake: By swapping out the usual graham cracker crust for a savory mushroom crust, adding finely chopped mushrooms to the cheesecake batter provides an earthy flavor that complements the richness of the cream cheese.

Chocolate-Mushroom Truffles: Rich, chocolate ganache in cocoa powder mixed with dried porcini mushroom powder, this luxurious treat combines sweet and savory flavors with the benefits of mushrooms.

Mushroom Tiramisu: This Italian classic gets a twist with layers of soft ladyfingers soaked in espresso for an unexpected burst of umami flavor.

Mushroom Ice cream: Creamy and delicious, mushrooms are surprisingly delicious when used as the base for ice cream. Imparting a unique flavor profile, chefs across the nation are creating frozen desserts using this trending treat in 2024.

What’s Driving Mushroom Mania

GenZ Choosing Plant-based Menu Options

With more young people embracing plant-based foods for the health of the planet and for their health, 77% of Gen Zers want to know more about the impact of their food choices on the environment when ordering from restaurants. In fact, a groundbreaking study that looked at food choices among college students, found that 80% of participants chose plant-based options on restaurant menus.  

Candy Giants Getting Sweet on Veggies

Thanks to Hershey’s, you can now complete a veggie-packed dinner with a vegan version of its iconic Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups or a vegan Hershey’s chocolate bar, each of which hit store shelves in 2023.  

Shift in Focus

In 2022, alcohol-free booze started to really take off, as people started choosing low- and no-alcoholic beverages for health reasons. In 2023, the search for health and wellness continued, with the focus shifting to food.  

Celebrity Backing

Though no one wants to admit it, we live in a world where celebrities are still  the most influential members of society. In 2023, many A-listers decided to throw the weight of that influence behind the vegan movement. Stars like Kourtney Kardashian and husband Travis Barker, who  partnered with vegan chicken brand Daring Foods to promote their plant-based items in 2023, are prime examples of celebs making the shift to veganism surge in popularity.    

Take Away

The future looks bright for mushrooms, and savvy restaurants will benefit by incorporating these phenomenal fungi into their menus.  Expected to permeate more and more consumer plates in 2024, restaurants creating menu items with mushrooms in mind will attract not only vegetarians and vegans,  but will capture the attention of all health and planet-conscious consumers in 2024.

By Eileen Strauss


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