WE’VE HAD A GUTFUL
South West kombucha company’s bid to squash the fake brews
A former AFL star and his wife who make kombucha in Margaret River say there needs to be a standard definition of the health-giving fermented tea drink — and warn that consumers are being ripped off by inferior imitations.
Former West Coast Eagle and Dockers defender Trent Carroll and his wife Amanda are the brains behind rok Kombucha, which has just marked the launch of a bottling facility partly funded by a $250,000 State Government agribusiness grant.
But the couple say there is no standard to distinguish their product from imitation drinks.
Mrs Carroll said the lack of transparency in the industry had resulted in an uneven playing field and cost them high-profile contracts in the health sector.
“We create real, authentically brewed kombucha, but the majority of the competition on the market have just whacked this label on the bottle and consumers think they’re drinking a health drink when they are not at all,” she said.
Health claims associated with kombucha include immune and energy-boosting properties and improved gut function.
“Real” kombucha is a low-sugar fermented drink, But the lack of standards means anything can be advertised as kombucha, even if it’s high in sugar.
“We just want to get some standards in place, just like how orange juice has to state if it is from concentrate,” Mrs Carroll said.
The couple’s push for labelling standards comes as the International Kombucha Brewers Association works on a set of standards to outline what identifies authentic kombucha and what lies outside and should be labelled as a “kombucha-like” drink.
At the opening of the plant last week, Agriculture Minister Alannah MacTiernan vowed to take their fight to the Federal competition watchdog.