COVID-19 Impact on Medicinal Mushroom in the Food and Beverages Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the industrial and commercial progress of most of the regions in the world. The persistence of the COVID-19 for a longer period has adversely affected the most vulnerable groups of the population including adults aged more than 60 years, mothers, and children. Globally, countries are expecting a drastic decline in dietary quality in low- and middle-income countries as a result of loss of income, the shutdown of businesses, human and goods movement restrictions imposed by governments, de-globalization, and breakdown of the supply chain of food markets due to both demand shocks and supply constraints. Healthcare facilities have been consistently giving their best to combat COVID-19 and helping resources to divert from nutritional care including micronutrient supplementation, prevention, and treatment of child malnutrition. In normal times, malnutrition remains a multidimensional problem and during the pandemic situation, it has taken a major hit. Thus, the population will be more focused on building higher immunity levels during the post-crisis situation.
Every sector in the healthcare industry has been impacted due to the COVID-19. The global medicinal mushroom market has had positive impacts on some of the aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak. The COVID-19 pandemic led to an increase in demand for medicinal mushroom supplements which benefited the market.
EFFECT ON DEMAND FOR MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS INCREASED DURING COVID-19 OWING TO HEALTH BENEFITS OF MEDICINAL MUSHROOM
Medicinal mushrooms are continually grabbing the spotlight for their incredible health benefits, ranging from cancer prevention and treatment to being anti-viral, to curing asthma and even prolonging life and have been shown to help with a wide variety of ailments through a myriad of mechanisms, but they are perhaps most demanded owing to their actions in supporting the immune system and quelling inflammation. These effects may very well make some mushroom species powerful allies in the fight against COVID-19 infections and COVID-19-related lung disease. As COVID-19 directly affects the immune system medicinal mushrooms can fight against the virus and rebuild immunity and being aware of this fact consumer demands more supplements made of medicinal mushrooms.
Specifically, the mushroom species Basidiomycota Agaricus blazei Murill (also known as Agaricus), Hericium Erinaceus (also known as lion’s mane), and Grifola frondosa (also known as maitake) shows to enhance the body’s antimicrobial activity against viruses and have anti‐inflammatory properties. These medicinal mushrooms may therefore be useful in soothing severe lung inflammation and may help fight secondary pneumonia that can follow COVID‐19 infection.
Some of the medicinal mushrooms and their health benefits:
Reishi has long been heralded as the elixir of life. This mushroom is well proven to prevent and combat cancer and other immune system disorders.
Maitake is another medicinal mushroom masquerading as gourmet food. It has been studied extensively for breast cancer and has been shown to reduce tumor size and aggressiveness.
Thus, the properties of medicinal mushrooms enabling the healthcare industry to manufacture the supplements and to use medicinal mushrooms in treating various diseases are driving the growth of the market.
· In September 2020 Mindful drinks launched a range of 0.5% AVB craft beers made with ‘medicinal’ mushrooms in the U.K.
· In October 2019, Rebbl, launched Mayan Cocoa Gold Label Elixir, an organic drink featuring four medicinal mushrooms, to support immune health
THE INCREASING VEGAN POPULATION DURING COVID
Veganism is most commonly thought of as a diet. A vegan diet consists exclusively of plant-based foods. Eggs, milk, meat, and even less obvious products like honey are off the menu. Yet veganism is also a broader lifestyle. There are various reasons behind the shift of various consumers towards veganism such as to have a healthy life, to protect the environment, and to stay fit.
In addition, the increasing disease originating from meat and junk food is one of the most common reasons behind veganism, and awareness about the health benefits of vegan food. Thus, consumers since COVID-19 are demanding more vegan food such as medicinal mushrooms which help them to build immunity and fight against the virus. Thus, consumers are demanding food and supplements made from medicinal mushrooms. This is helping the medicinal mushroom market to grow as it provides all the beneficial nutrients to the body with the medicinal benefits.
· According to the article published by Sentient Media, trends are pointing towards changing diets. Flexitarianism, which means people who are consuming less meat and are sometimes vegetarian, is on the rise. It is found a decrease in those who consider themselves “meat eaters”, going from 85 percent in 2019 to 71 percent in 2021
· According to the article published by Sentient Media, in 2016 in the United Kingdom found that the number of people identifying as vegans rose a whopping 360 percent in the previous decade, and it appeared that plant-based diets have continued to grow in popularity. The year 2020 brought more global awareness of the connections between disease and meat consumption, which may be responsible for the 40 percent increase in vegans in bringing the estimated total to 1.5 million people
· According to article published by LIVEKINDLY, France has witnessed a plant-based boom. Sales of vegan and veggie foods increased by 24 percent between 2018 and 2019. In the year 2017, a study revealed that 30 percent of Swedish Millennials were eating more plant-based foods for health and sustainability
Thus, the trending veganism is helping the medicinal mushroom to reach new heights and grow rapidly in the coming years.
COVID-19 IMPACT ON SUPPLY CHAIN OF MEDICINAL MUSHROOMS
The supply chain plays a major role when it comes to the sale of food products and due to the persistence of COVID-19, the supply chain has been disrupted worldwide. With the persistence of COVID-19, there have been restrictions on transportation, import, and export of food products. Furthermore, with the movement restriction on workers as well, the manufacturing of medicinal mushrooms and their products has been affected due to which the demand from consumers has not been fulfilled. Also, with restrictions on import and export, it has become difficult for the manufacturers to supply their products to various regions, which has impacted the prices of medicinal mushrooms and their products. Thus, with ongoing restrictions due to COVID-19, the supply chain for the medicinal mushroom market has been disrupted, which is creating a major challenge for the market.
The ongoing COVID-19 and restrictions on movement are disrupting the supply chain worldwide, which is posing a major challenge for the global medicinal mushroom market. However, manufacturers are trying to sell their products on digital platforms to cope up with the situation and hence are getting positive responses from the consumers.
COVID-19 outbreak has affected positively or negatively every sector in the market which includes the medicinal mushroom market. It has impacted medicinal mushrooms positively as there was an increase in demand for medicinal mushrooms owing to their properties and health benefits.
Many researchers and medicinal mushroom manufacturers are urging governments to build awareness about the consumption of medicinal mushrooms. Manufacturers are offering verities in the supplements of medicinal mushrooms to enhance health & increase the growth of the business. This is significantly affecting the global medicinal mushroom market. Thus, the Global medicinal mushroom market will mark sudden surges in demand during the COVID-19 pandemic and is projected to significantly grow over a long period due to permanent changes in consumer buying behavior.