Australian supermarkets making most of kombucha trend

Posted by Andrea Hogan on 21st June 2017

Mojo Kombucha. Image Credit: Aise Dillon

Both Woolworths and IGA supermarkets are making the most of Australia’s increasing interest in fermented kombucha tea.

Metcash, supplier to IGA supermarkets, has committed to selling 13 different flavours of MOJO kombucha, a brand which is produced in the Adelaide Hills.

Woolworths is also increasing the amount of kombucha its stocking, now selling two new flavours of MOJO kombucha.

Andrew Buttery, Business Development Manager at MOJO, said he is thrilled about the sudden rapid uptake of kombucha after brewing it for more than 10 years.

”We’re a small family-owned company who have been brewing kombucha for over 10 years in the Adelaide Hills, Willunga,” Buttery explained.

As kombucha needs to be refrigerated at all times, Buttery says the decision for supermarkets to increase their stock is significant.

“It’s a huge investment in refrigerated space in independent stores with a traditionally smaller footprint,” he said.

The sudden rise of kombucha

Kombucha has been consumed in China for centuries but has recently been promoted as a healthy drink by some Australian nutritionists with large online followings.

Typical kombucha health claims made by some include that it optimises gut health and increases energy.

Issues with trace amounts of alcohol

Although kombucha is being sold in supermarkets, there has previously been issues with trace elements of alcohol in kombucha drinks.

In 2015, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) announced a recall of an Australian-sold kombucha brand after it was found to contain “alcohol at levels that may be potentially intoxicating”.

The fermentation process that occurs in a batch of kombucha results in traces of alcohol which can vary in levels from drink to drink and over time. The trace alcohol content in kombucha is something which needs to be managed by kombucha producers.