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New ingredient: Exotic mushrooms

Published: 30-03-2016, | Member: Botanic Bites

Less than a year ago, Fungi Futuri hit the market with its first two products: a vegan shiitake croquette and a mushroom growing kit. In a vacant office building in the center of the Dutch city of Eindhoven, the company grows a wide range of exotic fungi used as ingredients in various food products.

Doreen Westphal started Fungi Futuri in the summer of 2015 with a crowdfunding campaign to fund the development of a shiitake croquette. She raised the money, developed the croquette and less than a year later, her shiitake croquettes and ‘bitterballen’ are sold in high-end restaurants and cafes.

Now the pace is picking up. Westphal says the company has had to change tack: “We’re no longer growing all the mushrooms ourselves. Demand is so high that we’ve started to work with other growers. Our main focus is now on developing new, healthy food product. So Fungi Futuri has become a link in the chain between growers and consumers.”

Jamie Oliver endorsement
In addition to the healthy deep-fried snacks, Fungi Futuri has also developed a kit for consumers to grow mushrooms at home. “We’re using the coffee grounds of Eindhoven’s restaurants to make growing kits for people to raise their own fresh mushrooms. Coffee grounds contain lots of nutrients and are a rich substrate for mushrooms. We’re mixing them with hyphae, which develop into mushrooms,” Westphal explains. Business really took off after Jamie Oliver discovered their growing kit and promoted it in his magazine.

Westphal has plans to develop more ‘exotic mushroom’ products. She is currently working on a test setup to grow reishi mushrooms. “In Asia, the reishi mushroom is believed to have medicinal properties. Asians have been using this type of mushroom for more than 2000 years and Western scientists are catching on to its medicinal uses.”

Fungi Futuri recently joined the Food Valley Society. “I hope that my Food Valley Society membership will bring me into contact with new business partners, so we can jointly develop my ideas of turning mushrooms into a valuable food ingredient,” Westphal says.

Funghi Futuri