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Survey of 10,000 People Confirms a “Mushroom is a Mushroom”


nammex_logoNammex (Gibsons, BC, Canada) recently commissioned a survey of 10,000 people in the U.S. on mushroom terminology that makes the consumer’s definition of what a mushroom is clear: it’s a mushroom.

“We commissioned this survey as a logical extension of our campaign for clarity and accuracy in mushroom product labeling,” said Skye Chilton, Nammex CEO.  “While the industry debates whether or not it’s acceptable to state or imply that mycelium-containing products are mushrooms, we thought knowing what consumers actually think was important information for the industry to have.”

In the survey, respondents were asked if they knew what a “fruiting body” was; 71.5 percent said they did not know. They were then shown a photo of a variety of mushrooms and asked “what are these?” The percentage of people who identified them as “mushrooms” was telling: 90.1 percent. A further 12.3 percent identified them as fungi, and 2.8 percent as “fruiting body.”

The next photo showed mycelium growing on a grain substrate in a plastic bag, with the question “is this a mushroom?” While 20.7 percent identified the myceliated grain as a mushroom, 79.3 percent checked the “not a mushroom” box. The main reasons given by the people who identified the myceliated grain as a mushroom were the context of the survey or knowing mushrooms grow from mycelium from having used mushroom growing kits.

“This data confirms that the vast majority of consumers have a fairly specific idea of what constitutes a mushroom, and it’s not myceliated grain,” Chilton said. “As we have said all along, to the industry and to FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) with our Citizen Petition asking for labeling clarity, it’s essential to be fair to consumers and not imply they are getting something they are not when they buy a product. It’s not only ethical, it protects the industry from losing their trust.”

Of the 10,000 respondents, 45 percent were male, and 55 percent were female. Ages were grouped from 18-34 (47.7percent), 35-44 (23.3 percent), 45-54 (14.1 percent), and 55-plus (14.6 percent). The survey was conducted in mid-2023 by the respected consumer research company Prolific.

For more information, visit www.nammex.com.