QLD_CM_TASTE_COVERSTORY_16JULY19
QLD_CM_TASTE_COVERSTORY_16JULY19

Are you getting bang for your kombucha buck?

KOMBUCHA has become the hottest health tonic on the market, but experts reveal consumers might not be getting what they pay for when it comes to the fermented tea drink.

Kombucha is made using a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast known as a scoby, which gives the drink probiotic qualities making it good for gut health.

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But experts have revealed labelling laws in Australia mean manufacturers don't have to declare how much actual kombucha is in a bottle or if it is pasteurised, which kills the good bacteria.

That means customers could simply be buying a carbonated drink with little health benefits.

"In the last 12 to 18 months there's been a real explosion of this convenient kombucha," Jason Callender from Brisbane's Buchi Kombucha said.

"Unfortunately, what's happened is there's been a lot of big players that have discovered there's a lot of money to be made and it's a booming market so … what's on offer is not necessarily the most authentic or living kombucha in the marketplace."

Jason Callender from Buchi Kombucha, with his daughters Adiva, 13, and Jedda Lantz-Callender, 9, says consumers might not be getting what they think when it comes to kombucha. Picture: Claudia Baxter/AAP
Jason Callender from Buchi Kombucha, with his daughters Adiva, 13, and Jedda Lantz-Callender, 9, says consumers might not be getting what they think when it comes to kombucha. Picture: Claudia Baxter/AAP

Mr Callender said real kombuchas should be able to grow a scoby in the bottle if they are active, where as the imitations cannot.

He said there was room in the market for both type of drinks, as they were both low-sugar alternatives to soft drinks, but customers should know what they were buying, especially if they were seeking health benefits.

"They can get better and they deserve better," he said.

"There are some artisan brewers who are really passionate but, like us, they've been pushed to the side and there's some big players who have taken over the space."

Mr Callender wants to see the labelling laws changed so companies are required to declare the true amount of active kombucha in a bottle so customers could make their own choice.

Buchi will be at this weekend's Regional Flavours food festival at South Bank.



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