The biodegradable and environmentally friendly characteristics of mycelium make it suitable for producing plant-based meats that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, such as bacon, fish fillets, and steak. The Business Insider article states that it costs about USD 50 to produce one square foot of mycelia. It is perfect for replacing non-biodegradable materials like plastics, which take 500 years to decompose. Mycelia are finger-like structures that spread outward like roots in search of nutrients and water to meet the needs of the fungus. Shiro, or mycelial masses, are fungi colonies in the soil or its surface. Mycelia can quickly move through soil or other surfaces because of their sturdy wall structure. Due to its firm, fibrous makeup, mycelium can be used to produce goods like clothing, food, buildings, and packaging.
It can be used to produce materials like leather, plant-based meat, and as an alternative to plastic. Moreover, this rapidly growing mycelium can serve as an excellent substitute for styrofoam, which is being phased out in most governments due to its adverse environmental consequences. Because mycelium is biodegradable, renewable, and sustainable, its production is economical and widely utilized in the future.
Most businesses now prioritize sustainable growth and the circular economy, rendering many outdated conventional business methods. Company models have changed as new initiatives are planned within an ESG (Environment, Social, and Corporate Governance) framework. Products made from mycelium, particularly mycelium materials, offer an alternative to conventional toxic and non-renewable materials like polystyrene. Future advances in material science may use it as a crucial sustainable and environmentally friendly option. Unlike steel and bricks, mycelium-based materials are made using byproducts (typically food or agricultural waste) at low temperatures and pressures. Products made from biodegradable mycelium are ideal for a circular economy if they are produced with natural, suitable, and clean resources. According to data on Styrofoam, it decomposes slowly, emits toxins, and is present in 30% of landfills worldwide. Regarding improperly disposed of plastic waste, India and China are at the top of the global rankings.
Even though the United States and the United Kingdom are lower on the list, plastics and styrofoam significantly impact them, and they have started using eco-friendly alternatives. Food and beverages become contaminated when styrene from Styrofoam cartons leaches into them. The same vessel emits air pollutants when exposed to sunlight, which contaminates landfills and erodes the ozone layer. Styrofoam manufacturing generates large volumes of gases, causing respiratory and environmental hazards. Billions of styrofoam cups from convenience stores, restaurants, and cafes pollute landfills. Everything from a computer to a candle can be packaged using material from mycelium and agricultural waste.
Mycelium is a feasible and sustainable resource for various industries, including food and beverage, medicines, clothing and apparel, biofuel, chemicals, automotive and construction, and electronics. According to R&D Investment Scoreboard, plant-based food and beverage companies get roughly 25% of their income. Increasing investments in plant-based food and beverage should drive the worldwide mycelium market. Capital ventures and organizations across different countries invest in R&D, production, and cultivation of high-quality mushrooms that can serve as an effective and safe raw material for mycelium-based products and generate extra revenue by exporting mushrooms to facilitate the global mycelium market. Increasing investments in diverse industries and sectors will boost the global mycelium market.
Europe's mycelium market is the most dominant and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7.3% during the forecast period. The system's mycelium strains are cultivated in biotechnology facilities across Europe.
Government support and technological advancements will open new paths for market expansion. Allergies to mycelium and mushroom poisoning are common in Europe. National governments provide guidance or enact legislation to ensure the safe trade of wild mushrooms. Rules for eating mushrooms are listed for each nation. 46 European countries have laws governing mycelium-based products' use, sale, and manufacture. The mycelium market is increasing in China as the economy has changed because of processing and consumer demand. China enhances mycelium market competition due to health and affordability. In recent years, China produced 75% of global mycelium. Mushroom and mycelium processors boost crop yield and year-round supply to meet demand.
The major players in the global mycelium market are Atlast, MOGU, Ecovative LLC, Meati Inc., MycoTechnology Inc., Biomyc, Mushroom Material, MycoWorks, Magical Mushroom Company, Groundwork BioAg, Mycorena, eniferBio, Mycotech Lab, ENOUGH, Monaghan Group, Nature’s Fynd, PRIME ROOTS, Chinova Bioworks, Bolt Threads, and Quorn.