Kombucha was nearly non-existent five years ago, yet is predicted to be a $1.8 billions business in the US by 2019.

It is a fantastic show case for food and beverage innovators:

  1. Its appeal comes from the fact that is started as a home made preparation. Its credentials were built in kitchens.
  2. Home made kombucha involves a rich ritual, with quirks (you have to make your own “SCOBY”); turning a blob of slimy yeast and bacteria into a delicious healthy drink is almost akin to alchemy.
  3. Kombucha is fermented, suggesting the fascinating power of nature and the invisible world of microbial changes.
  4. Kombucha started in a narrow community culture – hipsters in the know.
  5. The spread of kombucha’s popularity shows that, with access to investors, small communities can spread trends via food company start-ups (in 2017, the top 20 food innovations in California were all made by start-ups).
  6. The benefits of kombucha are a broad church. It’s holistic, and also combines body and mind benefits.
Kombucha journey from home-made to mainstream; on the right, the mass-market kombucha as it is being introduced in France.

The kombucha success story suggests many learnings for innovators:

  • Check what people do in their homes.
  • Keep track of what’s going on in trend-setting communities.
  • Add magic to your products.
  • Don’t be afraid of broad churches.
  • Food for the mind is as important as food for the body.