Fermented drinks 'explosion' predicted this year
Sales of kombucha, the low sugar health 'tea', have exploded on the Australian market in the past two years, with sales increasing by 700% over the last two years, reports News.com.au (June 30). With UK consumers reported as being increasingly worried about sugar in drinks and gut health, kombucha is predicted to be the health drink of 2018.
A fermented tea made up of wild bacteria, yeast, water and organic sugar, kombucha is called the “immortal health elixir” in China.
Caravan Restaurant, Bar & Coffee Roastery has been making its own in-house kombucha, shrubs (drinking vinegars), healthy sodas and kefir for three years. Caravan's Laura Harper-Hinton, who has witnessed first-hand the rise in interest in alternative healthy drinks, told Coffee Business World: “To begin with our sales were quite low on these products so it was a real ‘passion project’ for us.”
But, she continued: “We’ve seen sales quadruple on these items in the last year in addition to our freshly made juices and smoothies - we added the option to add protein to your smoothie a year ago and that’s increased as well - as we’ve seen the healthy living and eating trend permeate and become much more the norm!
“This is great for Caravan as we’ve always been about healthy lifestyle, loads of plant based dishes and healthy drinks (with a good dash of the indulgent too of course!). Balance is the key word here!”
Dom Dalton of Soul Fresh, producers of kombucha and other natural 'soft' drinks, believes 2018 will be the biggest year yet for kombucha in the UK, with mainstream stockists helping to raise the profile of kombucha. In May, Sainsbury's launched the former England rugby union star Jonny Wilkinson's No1 Kombucha.
"Sainsbury's is stocking a kombucha and I believe all the supermarkets will have it on their shelves by the end of this year," said Dalton.
"Consumers are realising the health benefits of kombucha on both gut health and as the perfect soft drink. As consumers look to reduce their sugar intake and cut down on sugary fizzy drinks, kombucha is a great alternative, being naturally sweet with a 'yeastiness' that you tend to get with beer - making it a really enjoyable drink."
According to the latest poll of more than 2,000 consumers conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Grocer, more than seven in 10 (71%) of consumers are worried about the amount of sugar in soft drinks. As many as 20% go as far as saying they are “very worried” and this is particularly true of the up-and-coming younger generation.
The article in News.com.au reported that low sugar products were finding growth as Aussie consumers switch to perceived healthier alternatives at an accelerated rate. That growth in soft drink alternatives was being led by kombucha at 173.8%, followed next by water at 15.6% and chilled juice at 9%. Carbonated soft drinks were in decline at 0.5%.
Soul Fresh has just launched Lo Bros (pictured above) in the UK - one of the biggest kombucha brands in Australia and New Zealand (see Product Launches this week).