20th October 2020



·        Mushroom sales have risen by up to 15% per cent this month alone, it has been reportedoutperforming all other vegetables

·        Supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s, has seen the sales of flat mushrooms soar by nearly a third (28 per cent)

·        Sun-exposed mushrooms are as effective at boosting and maintaining vitamin D levels as supplements are

·        Mushrooms are the only vegetarian food that can make vitamin D, says health experts this National Mushroom Day (15th October)

·        Nutritionist, Rob Hobson, says just eight enriched vitamin D mushrooms will give you your full RDA

·        Known to help maintain a healthy immune system, the sunshine vitamin has recently been linked to helping prevent Coronavirus


Kale, avocado and blueberries are the flashy symbols of the healthy eating movement, but Britain's next favourite superfood may be a much humbler vegetable that many of us already have in our kitchens. 


Sales of mushrooms are reportedly on the rise by up 15% per cent, with a spike in purchases believed to be linked to their health benefits. 


According to The UK & Ireland Mushroom Producers, a partnership between key mushroom farmers across the UK & Ireland, this equates to 2.5 BILLION mushrooms (25K tonnes) sold in the UK alone these past 12 months.

Supermarket giant, Sainsbury’s, has also seen a significant rise, with total sales this year up by 16 per cent, sales of flat mushrooms soaring by 28 per cent, and sales of button mushrooms up by 19 per cent.

Tesco has also seen a significant increase in sales with a total growth of 8 per cent, sales of its closed mushrooms rising by 15 per cent, and sales of button mushrooms soaring by 11 per cent.

Mushrooms are not only low in calories and fat but are also high in antioxidants and rich in B vitamins, as well as other nutrients that can improve our skin and help us feel less tired.


The fungi can also be a significant source of vitamin D. A key vitamin essential to support a normal immune system, vitamin D plays a vital role in keeping our bones healthy, as it works to regulate our intake of calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.


Research commissioned by the partnership has revealed that one in four of us are not getting our daily recommended vitamin intake, with a further quarter having “no clue” on what the recommended daily amount even is.


On Tuesday it was announced that Doctors will finally trial whether vitamin D can actually protect people from Covid-19 amid mounting evidence the supplement could be a life-saver.

Researchers from Queen Mary University of London will recruit 5,000 volunteers to take the vitamin for six months if they do not already take high doses.


Experts will then assess whether participants are at less risk of catching the virus and developing a severe bout of the disease over the winter months.

With the possibility of local lockdowns and lack of sunlight in the winter months cause for concern, 13 per cent of Brits have admitted to the worry that they will develop a vitamin D deficiency.

In addition, 22 per cent of people agreed to being worried about developing a weak immune system.

Nutritionist, Rob Hobson, says mushrooms exposed to the sun can provide as much vitamin D as a health supplement.

Much like our skin, mushrooms transform ultraviolet light from the sun into the vitamin and continue to do so even after they have been harvested.

Rob Hobson explains why mushrooms are now qualified to join the ranks of other so-called superfoods:

“Mushrooms are easily overlooked in the fruit and veg rainbow we’re advised to eat. They are commonly overlooked as a significant source of the sunshine vitamin D.

“As we prepare to spend less time in the daylight winter, we need to explore different ways of finding how to best get what our bodies need. A readily available and easily overlooked source are mushrooms, that can be bought specially enriched with vitamin D.”

The latest NHS[1] advice urges the public to consider increasing their vitamin D intake from 5 micrograms to 10 micrograms.

Rob explains that eating just eight vitamin D enriched mushrooms a day would give you your daily recommended amount.

A staggering 84 per cent of those surveyed said they were unaware that they could achieve their RDA by simply incorporating the enriched mushroom into their everyday meals. 


A tip from Rob, “If you can’t get your hands on vitamin D enriched mushrooms and can only find regular mushrooms, place them in the window sill when the sun is out and they become a source of vitamin D.”   


Rob Hobson recommends taking the fungi out of their wrapping and leave them outside for half an hour before eating.

“Any variety will work and it doesn’t matter which way up they are. It is best to do it between the hours of 10am and 3pm for up to 60 minutes.”

Mushrooms are the only vegetarian food that can make vitamin D as they contain a specific compound called ergosterol.

Ergosterol is converted into vitamin D when exposed to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation, similarly to how human skin synthesises the vitamin in response to sun exposure.

The form of vitamin D produced in mushrooms is D2, unlike the D3 found in the few animal foods that naturally contain the vitamin.

And cooking does not affect vitamin levels, says Rob. “Many experts believe that cooking will not damage the vitamin levels, and it is perfectly stable with heat. If anything, it makes it far easier to absorb the nutrient.”

Mushrooms are embracing their superfood status taking over the avocado, with 48% or people confessing that they hate the taste of the fruit. 


Additionally, 37 per cent of respondents agree that mushrooms are the most versatile vegetable when used as a meat free alternative, highlighting their popularity amongst plant-based eaters.  

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