Each passing day has created an opportunity for the consumption and demand for functional and energy drinks worldwide, given the major jolts to the healthcare sector amidst the emergence of new diseases. Kombucha is one such drink that is trending among health-conscious people. In effect, kombucha can improve the immune system, increase metabolism, reduce blood pressure and blood glucose levels, rebuild connective tissue, and reduce headaches. These are the findings of a recent study conducted by the University of Sydney researchers which revealed that when consumed with a high-GI meal, kombucha is capable of significantly reducing postprandial glycemic and insulin index response.

Kombucha companies across the world are spending heavily on R&D projects to roll out new products and flavors into the market. To illustrate, Health-Ade in 2022 announced it was leveling up its kombucha game with the launch of the Health-Ade Glow Up Line. As per sources, the new portfolio offers consumers not only delicious, refreshing kombucha, but also amplifies benefits to support skin, hair and nail health. It also stands to be a gut-first wellness approach for the Gen-Z and millennial populations.

The prevalence of diseases, such as diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure along with unhealthy food habits, has influenced product consumption lately. However, as kombucha contains a minimal amount of alcohol, regulatory bodies, including the U.S. FDA, have directed consumers to take precautionary measures while using it for the first time.

The original taste of Kombucha, being effervescent, slightly sweet and tart, has attracted added consumer preference to flavored products. Planning for an increasing demand, makers have begun introducing new kombucha flavors to the table. For instance, in 2023, Twilight Kombucha announced it was selling its canned kombucha drinks in three new flavors, including Hoppy Daze, Live, Lavender, Love, and Blueberry Cobbler, at Johnson Hall Coffee House in Hulmeville.

Hard Kombucha Taps the Functional Beverage Realm 

Amid a constant inclination toward efficient beverages, the kombucha industry, as a whole, has gained rapid momentum over the years. In particular, a highly sought after functional alternative for beer and hard seltzer has recently emerged—hard kombucha.

Unlike regular kombucha, which contains small amounts of alcohol, hard kombucha is left to ferment for a longer period of time, allowing it to serve as a healthier substitute for traditional alcoholic beverages like beer.

Comparing Hard Kombuchas with Other Drinks

  • Alcohol: When it comes to the alcohol content, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cites that hard kombuchas fall between beer and wine. While beer typically contains around 5% ABV, wine serves up around 12% ABV. On the contrary, most hard kombuchas run somewhere from 4.5%-7% ABV.
  • Sweetness: Compared to cranberry juice mixed with vodka, kombucha is low in sugar, but not completely free from the sweet stuff.
  • Calories: Hard Kombuchas are far better than frozen margaritas, boasting levels between 85-150 calories per can.

Propelled by such benefits, brands are upping their beverage tactics with an introduction to new hard kombucha products and flavors. Citing an example, Luna Bay Booch in 2022 launched its new line of seasonally inspired hard kombuchas: Watermelon Sea Salt. The product is the ninth addition to the firm’s portfolio of flavors, widely available in Illinois, California, Maine and Massachusetts.

A similar move was taken up by hard kombucha producer JuneShine in May 2022, when it announced its partnership with American influencer Diplo to introduce Permanent Vacation, the newest flavor to join the Passion Project Series from the kombucha producer in the U.S. The product is 6% ABV.

Kombucha in Skincare: The Latest Trend in the Skincare Industry

It has been reported that topical probiotics, like kombucha, can help support a healthy skin microbe that serves important functions, such as maintaining an acidic skin pH, preventing infection, controlling skin inflammation and moisturization of the skin.

"Skin conditions affect approximately 30% to 70% of people worldwide" — Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology

Patients with complaints of inflammatory skin problems such as rosacea, acne and eczema are expected to see a considerable improvement in these conditions with kombucha consumption, or probiotic-containing products in addition to their prescribed medical treatment.

What is in Store for the Kombucha Market In 2023 and Beyond?

Apart from promoting body and skin health, kombucha is expected to gain significant momentum across the pharmaceutical sector in the coming years. This can be credited to its benefits in healing skin lesions and muscles. A 2023 study conducted on male rats depicted that the product was able to reduce the inflammation process rapidly and initiate the formation of basal matrix and cell proliferation at the same time, supporting the compaction and tissue remodeling without infectious processes or delays in injured tissues.