Fungi & Founders

Our story so far: Myzel Co-Founder, Markus Sadaka, explores the origins and aspirations for Myzel Organics. 

Our Story: Where It All Started

For long as I can remember I was fascinated by the potential for psychedelic mushrooms. I’d been curious about altered states of consciousness, the effects of psychoactive compounds, and the history behind these unique mushrooms for a little while. The folklore around the amanita muscaria mushroom especially caught my attention.

My co-founder, Rob, shared my interest in the potential for mushrooms. We thought we could carve out a pretty unique niche in the functional mushroom space. These mushrooms still had a fascinating story;  it was just a little less complicated than the story around their psychedelic cousins. 

By leveraging Rob’s ‘s expertise in identifying market trends and opportunities for growth, coupled with my curiosity and sales experience, we developed a plan to build Canada’s largest sustainably-driven functional mushroom company.

Our Story So Far

More Than Just a Growth Opportunity 

The functional mushroom market showed signs of taking off during the pandemic. Demand was consistent in Asia, while interest in North America and Europe spiked (something us Canadian’s like to call hockey stick growth) around 2020.

Rob and I noticed that the demand outpaced the number of brands and verticals who were incorporating mushrooms as an ingredient. Quality seemed questionable, and product origins seemed hard to trace.

Myzel Facility from Tunacliffe Road core to our story

The few functional mushroom providers we researched provided very different information about the same species. Pricing also seemed off-putting – especially when we looked at organic products. 

This was a point of inspiration: we saw an opportunity to provide consistent quality, sustainably-cultivated, certified organic mushrooms at an affordable price point.

With that we started Myzel Organics. 

Our objective: to produce functional mushrooms as a sustainable and affordable ingredient for the global market. 

Our Story Inspiration

Mushrooms as a Mainstream Superfood

In 2021 we set to work converting our Wainfleet, Ontario facility into a sustainably-driven, state-of-the-art mushroom cultivation facility.

Now it’s 2023, and we’re primed to bring mushrooms as a superfood ingredient to the mainstream market.

Mushrooms have been popular in traditional and complementary medicines for a millennium. With interest ballooning, there is an opportunity to educate both brands and consumers about the value of incorporating these ingredients into a daily routine. 

Mushrooms are considered a natural superfood that is both safe for human and animal consumption. This may come as a surprise to most people: any mushroom that’s considered safe for a human is safe for animals too.

It’s that kind of information that inspires us to work hard to introduce mushrooms to new verticals.

Many of these industries would have never considered functional mushrooms as an ingredient in the past, or otherwise, they would have taken years to introduce them in their product lines. Brands are interested in science-based evidence about the effects of functional mushrooms, and they’re curious about the prospect of including mushrooms in their existing and new products. 

Like many industries, our sector is experiencing rapid adaptations in response to inflation, price increases, supply chain shortages, and costs of shipping. By customizing our facility with a focus on the environment, sustainable production, and operational efficiency, our team at Myzel believes we can deliver ingredients that fulfill demand  – without compromising on values – at a low monetary cost.

Mushroom powder in small white dish
Culinary mushrooms on chopping board
Two cups of tea

Into the Mycelium: Exploring Full-Spectrum Potential

Exploring the Unknown Ingredient

At the outset, we were pleasantly surprised by how small our environmental footprint would be for our mushroom cultivation. This made it more achievable for us to setup one of the most sustainable mushroom operation in North America. We could see the natural synergy between sustainable energy and mushroom production. 

Cultivation requires very low amounts of energy, and very little space. Post-production processing is also remarkably low, especially when compared to many vegetarian or vegan ingredients. Those ingredients, including soy and oats, require a lot of physical space, intensive crop management, and costly shipping post cultivation. In comparison, functional mushrooms provide a low-impact, cost-effective alternative to traditional vegetarian and vegan products. 

Before we move on, it’s worth mentioning that our facility was designed to generate enough energy on-site to offset our production needs. We anticipate producing more energy than we can actually use.

All Natural Products, Our Promise

The functional mushrooms we grow at Myzel are completely natural, with no additives or preservatives. They require minimal amounts of processing when incorporated in products like foods, beverages, and nutraceuticals.

Specifically, our mushroom products require no additional processing – other than dehydration.

They are as natural as possible. All of our full-spectrum mushroom powders are free of fillers or synthetic additives.  It’s our intention to keep it this way.

We hit all the marks with our production processes to maintain Organic, Non-GMO, and Vegan certification. These certifications reflect our core values: to honor the environment and the land on which we grow. 

Mushroom cap with hidden face

Building a Values-Based Brand

The whole team at Myzel has put our hearts and souls into building a values-based business.

We believe in the healing power of functional mushrooms. We are committed to delivering their benefits to as many people as possible. A big part of this will be inspired by our passion and conviction. It’s hard not to feel excited about mushrooms when they promise to influence health, well-being, and food security.

Yet, building a facility that both meets global demand and maintains a small environmental footprint is no small feat.

We had our hearts set on building a Net-Zero energy facility that would not only meet our production needs but also minimize our impact on the planet. We worked tirelessly to ensure that every aspect of our facility was designed with sustainability in mind. From the materials we used to the energy systems we implemented, we carefully considered every step along the way.

Ultimately these values will benefit our partners too. 

Cultivating Value Across the Supply Chain

Typically when a product boasts sustainability, a buyer thinks: “this sounds expensive”. And rightfully so! Many brands leverage sustainability claims to justify higher pricing. 

When buying mushroom powder from Myzel Organics, our partners are getting high-quality, sustainably-produced functional mushroom products that are affordably priced. 

Lower cost, sustainable products will ensure everyone achieves their goals. 

We’re just at the start of our journey, and we’re excited to see what the future has in store. We are proud to be a big part of shaping the future of functional mushrooms!

A big part of this journey includes partnering with individuals and businesses who share our commitment to sustainability. We’ve received amazing feedback about our initiatives; that has been a big source of reassurance and inspiration. People truly recognize the value of environmental stewardship, and they are eager to support a company that shares their values.

Breaking Through the Mushroom Cap

As a company operating in an emerging market, we understand that there will be unique challenges that come with the territory. 

One of the interesting challenges is differentiating between functional and psychedelic mushrooms.

I often find myself laughing about a surprising interaction last fall. A contact was concerned that we were advocating for the use of psychedelics in pet food. We’re “out there” as mushroom fanatics …but not that out there!

To be clear: Myzel currently only cultivates and promotes functional mushrooms. There’s a big difference between functional and psychedelic varieties.

Functional mushrooms offer great potential for health and well-being because of adaptogenic properties, like anti-inflammation, increased gut health, or nerve regeneration. There is no shift in consciousness involved. 

Psychedelic mushrooms offer mind-manifesting potential and a novel approach to mental health by altering states of consciousness. 

Spaniel eating bully stick petfood is part of our story

Obstacles on the Path

One of the more significant challenges we face is mixed messaging.

Explanations of specific functional mushroom applications vary widely, while judgements about mushroom products abound.

Mixed messaging and incomplete information leave the consumer confused, which makes buying decisions more difficult. Market maturation depends on science-based messaging that clearly conveys the function of mushrooms. Without this third party data, messaging is just confusing.

We’re rooting for industry-wide growth. We can achieve this by advocating for the strictest possible quality standards, and guaranteeing product authenticity and contents by providing Certificates of Analysis (COAs) for each of our species. That’s how we’ll achieve transparency throughout the industry.

By working together as an industry, we can create an informed and responsible market that benefits producers and buyers alike. Our ultimate goal is to see mushrooms go mainstream, and we will continue to work towards this goal with integrity.

Mushrooming to Success

Myzel’s Vision for the Future

Our vision for the future is clear: we want to be the largest producer and supplier of sustainably grown, low-cost functional mushrooms in the world. 

From our perspective, this is not only achievable but also essential. The demand for natural and holistic health products is showing no signs of slowing, while product costs are increasing. Providing products that are readily available and accessibly priced will play a big role in meeting market demand. 

Many of our conversations these days veer into the realm of food security and supply chain stability. It’s not just the demand for holistic health products or meat alternatives. The need to find long-term alternatives to satisfy a growing population is pressing. We anticipate that providing mushroom powder for affordable food alternatives will be a big part of our future as a company.

The Fungal Frontier

Myzel Organics depends on our staff, our partners, and our customers. Our shared passion for mushrooms and our vision for a sustainable future is what brings us together and makes us strong. We hope that our journey will inspire others to follow their own passions and to take the risks to make a difference in the world.

Building something you believe in is not always easy, but the rewards are immeasurable. We are grateful for the opportunity to do what we love every day and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Our Story: Core Values

  • Sustainability
  • Affordability
  • Supply chain stability
Our story relies on partners and buyers