NEW YORK — You’ve seen mushrooms transform into chewy jerky and blend with ground beef into burgers.
Now, they’re morphing into crispy chips and liquifying into tea and coffee. Guests tasted it all at a private reception hosted by Shrooms Snacks, the snacking brand of fresh mushroom grower and sales company South Mill Champs, which farms in Kennett Square, Pa.
The company’s rooftop party overlooking the Manhattan skyline introduced the innovators who made the new products that could be available as soon as late August at the company’s contracted retailers nationwide, expanding to more locations by the end of 2019 in the U.S. and Canada as demand increases.
David Eberwein, director of innovation and business development, and Chip Chalupa, director of food science and research and development, were on hand to share about the products.
“I think the great thing about it is it’s a real, sliced mushroom, not extruded or formed. And they’re portable, don’t have to be refrigerated and you can take them anywhere,” Eberwein said about the Crispy Mushroom chips, which are non-GMO, soy-free, gluten-free and vegan.
The mushroom extracts used in the teas and coffees have funky-sounding names and associated health characteristics that capitalize on consumer demand for functional foods that offer benefits such as calm, focus and immunity support.
The snack brand additions include:
- Two new varieties of Shrooms Crispy Mushrooms: Sea Salt King Oyster and Smoky Bacon Shiitake are both made from whole mushrooms that are minimally processed. The first has sunflower oil and sea salt. Each 2-ounce bag is made from 1 pound of fresh mushrooms. Oyster mushrooms have anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, and shiitake mushrooms have fiber, B vitamins and may boost heart health and the immune system.
- Shrooms Cold Brew Mushroom Coffees: Three ready-to-drink varieties have smooth Arabica coffee that’s each brewed with superfood mushrooms boasting different health benefits and functions: Chill with Reishi, Be Well with Chaga and Focus with Lion’s Mane.
- Shrooms Cold Brew Mushroom Teas: Three tea varieties are each brewed with different superfood mushrooms: Chill with Reishi blends with passionfruit and papaya black tea, Be Well with Chaga in plum ginger black tea, and Focus with Lion’s Mane in dragonfruit black tea.
The brand already introduced its line of other mushroom chips, plus mushroom jerky, mushroom snack bars and mushroom jerky split with dried fruit or meat.
“2019 is the year of the functional mushroom. Let’s hope it extends beyond its peak,” Chalupa said.
Part of the appeal of mushrooms is not necessarily just about its plant-protein benefits, something for only vegans or vegetarians, Chalupa said. “It’s about sustainability,” he said.
Mushroom farms can grow in a closed-loop system, using byproducts of other farms for the compost and substrate material, as well as recycled water. The resulting post-harvest waste is then used as compost at other farms, making mushrooms a crop with one of the lowest energy outputs in fresh produce, he said.
“Everything we’re selling is mushroom-based, and we’re growing it in Pennsylvania,” Eberwein said. “We even grow our own hay for our own compost, do our own processing and packaging, so we’re vertically integrated. Shrooms is our functional, ready-to-eat, snacking, making-mushrooms-easier-to-enjoy brand.”
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