The Innovation Forum – Introducing Fungtn and its founder, Zoey Henderson – A new alcohol-free beer brewed with mushrooms

Many have written that this period of time could prove to be one of the greatest eras for the transformation in image of many traditional products. They are being challenged in a way that has never happened before. This is being driven by a mix of increased awareness of the environment and sustainability, health and well-being and new generations emerging which seem at ease in wanting to ask questions of traditional products and exploring how they can be evolved.

Research is telling us that younger consumers are drinking less alcohol, are more mindful of their drinking, their sugar intake and open to new concepts which are aligned to their desire to find a stronger balance between lifestyle, health and diet. Fungtn is a vegan, gluten free range of alcohol free craft beers, brewed with functional mushrooms It is a product which is fast gaining attention and last week launched in Selfridges.

Fungtn has been founded by Zoey Henderson who spent 15 years working with the food and drink industry. Her motivation has been to see a greater understanding by consumers of the powers that lie within fungi and plants. The super food mushrooms used in the range are known as adaptogens and have been used in health and wellness for thousands of years and are finding their way back into the mainstream, through beauty products, food and drinks.

However, she also believed that the system was broken and there was a need for better products to be introduced into the market which met the desires of the modern consumer. There is a direct correlation between drinking, stress, anxiety and mental health which all flies in the face of the growing desire to be more healthy and balanced. We are witnessing the rise of the mindful consumer:

· 66% of millennials in the US are reducing their drinking

· 30% of UK adults do not drink

· 69% of US adults want to futureproof themselves through what they consume.

Zoey’s aims, therefore, are straightforward:

· To provide a product which mindful consumers can enjoy

· To promote fungi in a positive way

· To build a sustainable business.

The result is that Zoey is building an exciting new business which has attracted custom and attention within the UK as well as further afield, in the UK and Europe. She is already working with major retailers and had some great press features in the Times, The Telegraph, The I and Forbs India. This year (2022) with export contracts secured into the US and Canada the business is forecasting tripling its first year revenues.

Many will joke about ‘magic’ mushrooms but most accept the fascinating and health positive qualities they possess with the concept naturally attracting interest in line with an increased interest of fungi in the mainstream. In recent weeks, EP has spoken to three major clients who have all expressed an interest in learning more as they are very aware at just how much younger consumers are changing in their habits.
This is an exciting new era where the consumer does want to explore, try new products and possess a value-set which is far more health conscious. The old image of alcohol-free beers has also changed in recent years and it is an industry which is evolving at speed.

Zoey could well sit at the forefront of the change to come and be an innovator which does create genuine change. EP is delighted to be supporting the promotion of Fungtn. Change is happening all around us and new products are emerging to challenge the traditional. However, more importantly, consumers are excited to see products such as Fungtn emerge as it offers them a great alternative.

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