There are growing opportunities around vitamin D-enriched foods as consumers look for a health kick, according to a celebrity nutritionist who is working with the mushroom industry.

Nutritionist Rob Hobson has partnered with the UK & Ireland Mushroom Producers group to explain why more brands are enriching and fortifying their ranges with vitamins. It comes following the success of products such as M&S's Select Farms Vitamin B6 & D Chestnut Mushrooms, as well as Soupologie's vitamin D-enriched soup trio and Nomadic's vitamin D yoghurts.

The so-called ‘sunshine vitamin’ has become a major talking point this year, following suggestions that vitamin D could be linked to a reduced risk of coronavirus.

Worldwide, more than two billion people are believed to have micronutrient deficiencies as they are not getting enough vitamins and minerals each day. On the back of a renewed focus on health among Brits, there has been a growing trend for brands to enrich their prodcuts with key nutrients, with mushrooms at the forefront of this drive.

Fortified foods are those that have nutrients added to them that don’t naturally occur in the food, whereas enriched foods mean the nutrients that were lost during processing are added back in.

“As one of the only vegan and veggie-friendly sources of vitamin D, British and Irish mushrooms are having their moment,' Hobson said. 'In fact, just eight vitamin D-enriched mushrooms can help us reach our RDA, while four medium-sized vitamin B12-enriched mushrooms delivers 100 per cent of your recommended intake.”

Mushrooms have benefitted from locked-down consumers eating more at home and focusing on their health, with sales reportedly up 40 per cent year on year.

'Shoppers want more from their everyday products,' Hobson added. 'I think that healthy food and drinks fortified with vitamins, minerals and other functional ingredients will remain a priority for shoppers throughout 2021, as functional foods have now become a useful way to support their immune system amidst the pandemic.”