There’s plenty of room for mushrooms in a healthy diet and skin care routine. Mushrooms are rich in ergothioneine and glutathione, two antioxidants said to help protect the body from the physiological stress that causes visible signs of aging. Last year Penn State researchers found that people who regularly ate mushrooms had a lower risk for depression. They attribute it ergothioneine, which may lower the risk of oxidative stress, which in turn reduces symptoms of depression. The authors recommend eating button mushrooms, which contain potassium, which may help reduce anxiety.
No wonder then, that functional mushrooms are among the most popular products in the well-being space. Experts say mushrooms help balance energy levels, strengthen immune function, smooth digestion and enhance skin’s natural glow.
But not all mushrooms are capturing the attention of consumers, according to Spate, which analyzes millions of online consumer signals to identify the next big trend.
“We’re not seeing growth across all mushrooms but there is growth in interest for Lions Mane and Turkey Tail,” said Yarden Horwitz, founder and CEO of Spate.
Specifically, searches for Lions Main rose 8.9% from a year ago, while Turkey Tail searches jumped 22.1%.
As Co-founder and CEO of Into the Multiverse and SuperMush, Alli Schaper is passionate about mushrooms and their myriad health benefits and their vast potential in the FMCG space.
No entrepreneur is making a bigger bet on these fungi than Alli Schaper, co-founder and CEO, Into the Multiverse, Inc., a marketplace and education center for all things mushroom. Schaper is also the founder of SuperMush, a line of mushroom mouth sprays. Happi caught up with Schaper not long after the launch of Super Mush.
Happi: Why are you so passionate about mushrooms?
Schaper: I believe that fungi have the power to change the world, they have definitely changed everything about mine. Mushrooms are truly misunderstood magic, and their innate wisdom can be distilled into countless life lessons to teach us how to be better to ourselves, each other, and the world around us. Functional (non-psychedelic) mushrooms specifically have been transformational for my personal health with gut problems I’ve dealt with since I was a child, and the daily use of mushroom powders and supplements has had a profound impact on my overall vitality. I’m also extremely passionate about bringing psychedelics to the mainstream wellness conversation. Most people have such a lack of clarity on the fungi kingdom and even the basic difference between psychoactive and supplement/adaptogenic mushrooms, and that’s a huge part of the education we are hoping to put forth with The Multiverse and Super Mush.
Happi: You mentioned that mushrooms are being used in every single industry now. Why are they so popular? Can you give me some examples of why they can “save the world,”as you mentioned in other interviews?
Schaper: There isn’t a single problem the world is facing right now that fungi don’t have the ability to support and solve. Functional mushrooms can heal our bodies and are disrupting the entire consumer packaged landscape with everything from supplements to beverages, psilocybin mushrooms are being used to treat severe mental health disorders in psychedelic-assisted therapy across the world, and companies are using mycelium as eco-friendly alternatives for packaging and even fashion. The potential for mushrooms to help us and our planet is truly extraordinary.
Happi: What makes SuperMush different than other products on the market?
Schaper: SuperMush is a functional mushroom brand and our goal was to make a high-potency, travel-friendly mushroom supplement that tastes delicious—most tinctures on the market taste like alcohol ). We created our daily superfood mushroom mouth sprays for energy, immunity and chill. Sublingual delivery and buccal absorption mouth sprays are also the most effective way to ingest supplements and have the fastest absorption rates.
Happi: What came first? SuperMush or the Multiverse? Why did you create the Multiverse and how do you select products to go into the Multiverse?
Schaper: We created The Multiverse to source, vet, and test the best fungi-based consumer products on the market for our customers to shop. All Multiverse products go through a strict approval process based on a list of our mushroom and wellness standards. We call them Fung-YES and Fung-NOs. We created SuperMush shortly after launching The Multiverse because we couldn’t find an on-the-go delicious supplement that made taking our daily dose of mushrooms easy and fun.
Happi: You’re a CPA, right? How does that jibe with your focus on all things mushrooms? Do you see mushrooms becoming the next big thing in nutritional supplements?
Schaper: I’ve lived a lot of lives in the last decade! I got my Masters in Accounting and CPA with the intention to really understand the foundation of business and how to operate with financial efficiency. This education has been instrumental in financial projections, budgeting and fundraising. I absolutely believe mushrooms are the future of MOST things, not just supplements. Humans evolved eating mushrooms during some of the most crucial periods of human development and we believe they should be a part of our daily routine because of their undeniable medicinal benefits.
Happi: What about beauty and personal care? What role do mushrooms play in formulations? Can you give me some examples of mushroom uses in skin care formulas? What ingredients would they replace and at what levels?
Schaper: Reishi and Turkey Tail are popping up in a ton of skincare products, I’m no expert in skin care formulation but the fact that these functional mushrooms are trending in beauty is compelling for the mushroom space collectively.
SuperMush sprays debuted in November. More rollouts are in the works.
Happi: SuperMush sprays launched in November. How would you describe the launch? Did it meet expectations? Why or why not?
Schaper: Well our launch video – check it out here on YouTube, got removed by Instagram for a few weeks because they flagged it for being the sale of illegal drugs. The good news is the video was getting great attention and momentum for SuperMush, but also highlights how much education is needed in the functional mushroom vs. psychedelic mushroom arena. We are really excited to be a part of that narrative. Overall, the launch was great and you can now find us in all seven Erewhon stores in LA as well as online.
Happi: What are the expansion plans for the company, SuperMush and the Multiverse?
Schaper: Lots of fun partnerships cookin’ for 2022 that we can’t wait to share! We are extremely passionate about mental wellness and bringing psychedelics to the mainstream wellness conversation. We launched a podcast recently, Into the Multiverse, that I’m excited to continue to grow next year, as well as a dinner series “The Future of Psychedelic Wellness.” We’ll also be expanding all aspects of Into the Multiverse. This is our parent company, and an education-first ecosystem for all things fungi with the mission to make functional mushrooms sexy and encourage collaboration amongst the psychedelics industry.
We have three pillars:
• The Multiverse, the world’s first functional mushroom marketplace;
• Our in-house CPG brand SuperMush, and
• Education and events to help catalyze psychedelics to the mainstream wellness conversation.