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Is kombucha the new coconut water?

News that Coca-Cola has bought Australian organic kombucha business Organic & Raw Trading Co indicates the rise of the naturally-fermented live culture beverage.

At the same time, a report by Lumina Intelligence on the global kombucha market quotes Statistica figures that show the global market was worth US$1.06 billion in 2016 and is expected to reach just under $2 billion by 2020.

Does this make kombucha the new coconut water? asks Lumina.

Data captured by Lumina Intelligence in 2018 on the kombucha market included 151 brand variants and 76 brand owners across 18 countries. The UK has 11 brand variants, one more than the US which has 10, according to Lumina.

Kombucha is made by fermenting a complex conglomerate of bacterial and yeast cultures, which coalesce into a disc-like shape often referred to as the “kombucha mushroom (scobe)” in a base of black or green tea mixed with sugar.

It’s rich in vitamins, enzymes, amino acids, organic acids and other substances, which have barely been identified, never mind studied in detail, says the report. “This is very much part of kombucha’s mystique that gave rise to its reputation as a panacea for all kinds of ailments, e.g. allergies, chronic fatigue, digestive complaints, high blood pressure and even cancer.

“There are a number of factors, which are set to boost the uptake of kombucha for the foreseeable future. First of all, fermented products are right on trend. Besides the health benefits associated with consuming fermented foods and beverages, Millennials in particular are known to favour traditional processing methods, and fermentation is probably as traditional as it gets. Also, Millennials are irredeemably attracted to everything ‘ethnic’ and kombucha’s long consumption history across Asia and eastern Europe lends credibility, which brand owners can tap into.”

Kombucha is both a natural and a functional beverage, which addresses many of the health concerns of older people, including cardiovascular health, digestive issues, arthritis and other inflammatory conditions. Instead of popping more pills, seniors would much rather eat and drink health products.

“Kombucha market growth is very encouraging and the category certainly has the potential of rivalling coconut water-based beverages, especially if it manages to capture new target audiences,” concludes the report.

Read the Lumina report here.

Graph courtesy of Lumina Intelligence

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