Kombucha demand is growing, and competition is strengthening.
With more and more kombucha competition hitting the shelves, supermarkets are narrowing their selections to brands with the highest consumer appeal. As you’re bottling kombucha, it’s important to make sure your product is keeping up with popular trends to attract your share of the market.
Though kombucha’s precise origins are a bit of a mystery, the health benefits of this fermented “mushroom” tea have been professed for hundreds — if not thousands — of years. It gained notoriety in the U.S. during the late 1980s thanks to some grassroots alternative-health buzz, primarily as a home-brewed beverage.
More recently, with flavor enhancements making it more widely palatable, bottled kombucha is gaining popularity and showing up everywhere. This mainstream “’booch” surge isn’t expected to slow down anytime soon. According to Statisica, ready-to-drink kombucha sales revenue in U.S. supermarkets is forecasted to grow from the 180 million reported in 2015 to 1.25 billion by 2024.
US Kombucha Market Size, by flavor, 2014-2024 (USD Million)
If you’re bottling kombucha, here’s what you need to know to make the most of its growing popularity.
Who’s the target when bottling kombucha?
Kombucha’s biggest fans are millennials, so it’s key to make sure that your label and bottle choices are on-trend for this core market. Millennials are known to favor traditional processing methods, so when bottling kombucha, you’ll want to call this out on your label.
Beyond millennials, health-conscious individuals of all ages — including seniors — are showing interest in kombucha. It’s enjoying popularity as both a natural and functional beverage. An article on 2018 food trends suggests that this is a huge benefit, saying, “The single, most powerful trend in today’s marketplace is consumers’ desire for foods and ingredients that are ‘naturally functional.’ This massive trend underpins the success of almost everything else.”
Let’s look at some of the key natural and functional features to highlight, by market-segment.
Millennials gravitate toward:
- Fermented products with traditional processing methods
- Ethnic products
- Craft beverages (think craft beer, artisanal coffee)
- Healthy drinks (green tea, no artificial sweeteners, etc.)
Health-conscious consumers care about:
- Clean label (no GMOs, organic, no preservatives)
- Probiotic properties (immunity boosting, digestive benefits)
- Weight loss
- Overall wellness benefits
Seniors are interested in:
- Potential health benefits
- Improved cardiovascular and digestive health
- Decreased arthritis and inflammatory pain
- Natural preventative solutions
Popular kombucha bottle and label design trends
Once you’ve decided who you’re targeting, your design should follow suit. Here are six popular styles to consider for inspiration. Be sure to exercise creativity and make sure that your kombucha bottle and label both feel appropriate for its shelf environment and stand out from the pack.
1. Natural Colors/Clear Bottles
IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.packagingoftheworld.com/2017/08/glow.html
Many kombucha companies are opting for clear bottles that highlight the natural quality of the product. Colorful drinks with natural fruit and spice flavors especially attract attention. As an added bonus, consumers can see what they’re getting. The colors you use on the label should complement the product color.
2. Healthy Lifestyle/Medicinal
IMAGE SOURCE: https://www.dailyorganics.com/collections/kombucha
Clear labeling practices are paramount to capitalize on kombucha benefits. Highlight product differentiators (e.g., vegan-friendly, organic) and potential health impacts (e.g., immunity boosting, digestive aid), along with required label info. Take design cues from healthy products, natural remedies, and alternative medicines.
IMAGE SOURCE: https://thedieline.com/blog/2014/9/15/body-eden
Give your product a personality and use your kombucha label to tell a story about its benefits. For example, you might create a label with a callout that says ENERGY and include a quote that says, “I could run a marathon.”
IMAGE SOURCE: https://gtslivingfoods.com/our-offerings/kombucha/
Highlight the historical quality of the beverage to inspire consumer confidence in its long-standing use. Incorporate symbolic Chinese or Russian characters to hint at kombucha’s ancient origins. Or use ethnic artwork and flourishes in your design to add visual interest.
IMAGE SOURCE: http://lovelypackage.com/student-work-lydia-nichols/
Appeal to millennials and stand out on the shelf by using an interesting shape of bottle or label. Choose vibrant colors to convey a sense of fun and vitality.
IMAGE SOURCE: https://thedieline.com/blog/2017/8/10/korzen-kombucha
Select an environmentally conscious, recyclable bottle and label with a natural look and feel. Note: amber glass bottles offer UV protection for the living organisms Within the kombucha, but must be recycled separately.
Do you have the right labeling machine for bottling kombucha?
The next question to consider is whether your labeling machine is up for the task of consistently placing your strategically and beautifully designed label on your bottles. A professional-looking label, placed properly with no tears or bent edges, will help to communicate the high quality of your kombucha product.
First impressions matter. The smallest detail may give you the edge when a consumer is deciding between two products. The right labeling machine can both help your kombucha look great and keep your production line humming.
According to an ancient myth, kombucha has been called the “tea of immortality.” Appropriately, the beverage itself has a lengthy history and looks to be a trend that promises to enjoy longevity in U.S. markets for the foreseeable future.
To stay viable in this competitive market, you want your kombucha product to have longevity too. It will help to seal it properly and invest in a high-quality labeling machine that can withstand the rigors of a busy kombucha production line. Finding a trusted labeling partner to help you choose the right machine is a great place to start.