Kombucha Market in Canada

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Kombucha Consumer Perceptions - Canada

In reference to our findings, the Canadian kombucha market has been constantly growing at a rate of 20% year-over-year. The market's constant growth resulted in a 41% market increase to $534 million wholesale in 2017. Our research methodology and detailed findings in regard to how Canadians perceive kombucha follows below.

METHODOLOGY

We were unable to find specific information on the number of options consumers have for kombucha in Canada. In our search for this information, we employed the following research strategies.

In our first strategy, we looked for relevant information in Canadian business and news sites that included Canadian Grocer, Newswire, and CBC. We focused on these resources because they potentially contained information on the kombucha market in Canada. However, with this strategy we were not able to find definitive information on consumer options, but we did find information on some available options and kombucha brands in Canada.

Secondly, we searched for any usable information on the websites of kombucha companies and beverage distributors in Canada. Through this strategy, we were able to identify resources such as Booch Organic Kombucha that provided a number kombucha options in Canada, which we have presented in the section that follows below.

Lastly, we searched for market research reports, but these resources were limited by paywalls such as the "Kombucha market: Industry, trends and growth report". Information that was contained in these resources was limited and we could not derive anything that we could use to address the research criteria. We attributed the unavailability of definitive information on the number of consumer options to the fact that there are too many options available in the Canadian kombucha market.

CANADIAN PERCEPTION OF KOMBUCHA

MARKET EVOLUTION

According to the Canadian Grocer, the kombucha drinks market has been growing by 20% year-over-year in Canada. Additionally, a report by the Beverage Marketing Corporation noted that the kombucha market increased by around 41% to reach $534 million wholesale in 2017.

Ottawa resident Wentsi Yeung who is the founder of Culture Kombucha decided to start her own kombucha business after having a single drink. In less than 2 years, her business has grown drastically from a startup to a big company that prepares and sells around 1,000 bottles of kombucha per day.

CONSUMER OPTIONS

Kombucha brand options that are available in the Canadian market include:


According to Brew Your Bucha, top kombucha brands include GT's Kombucha, GT's Synergy Kombucha, Townshend's Brew Dr. Kombucha, RISE Kombucha, and KeVita Master Brew Kombucha.

RISE Kombucha offers a number of flavors that include "Ginger, Hibiscus & Rose Hips, Blueberry & Maple, Lemongrass, Mint & Chlorophyll and Rose & Schizandra."

In addition, restaurants and bars in Canada are increasingly selling kombucha on tap and in cocktail form. Heart Beet Organics, which has plans to install more kombucha taps in Prince Edward Island flavours its kombucha drinks with organic, locally-grown fruits like elderberries.

CONSUMPTION AND POPULARITY TRENDS

According to CTV News, kombucha is very popular in Canada and the drink's popularity has continued to increase in recent years resulting in a surge in sales.

Kombucha is popular among adults of all ages including millennials and baby boomer. Lastly, according to CBC News, the demand for kombucha has been growing steadily over the last 3 years.

PURCHASING TRENDS

Canadians buy kombucha in stores such as grocery stores especially for middle class and higher-income shoppers. Additionally, Canadian consumers look at and buy kombucha because the drinks are strategically placed in coolers that are filled with functional beverages that are on display close to store entry points.

In addition, younger millennials buy kombucha drinks after checking social media websites and the primary demographic that consumes the drink tends to be in the 20 to 40 age range. Kombucha drinks have attracted millennials and younger generation individuals in Canada because these individuals have social and health awareness.

Lastly, according to the organic kombucha spokesperson, women are more likely to drink kombucha than men.
Part
02
of three
Part
02

Kombucha Consumer Perceptions - United States

In 2017, compared to a 41% rise in Canada, the sale of kombucha and other fermented drinks in the United States rose by 37.4%. In the United States, kombucha is mainly found in the grocery fridge sections and on the shelves, while in Canada, they are also placed in coolers at entry points of grocery stores. While kombucha is sold at restaurants and bars in both the United States and Canada, it is also available in coffee shops and taprooms in the United States.

METHODOLOGY

To make the comparison between the American consumers' perception about kombucha and that of Canadian consumers, we searched for information on kombucha consumption trends and popularity in news articles from Forbes, Newswire, health-focused webpages and blogs, market trend reports, kombucha brand websites, and social media pages of influencers.

We assumed that the information required under consumer options included the flavors that are available in the market, the form they came in (organic, non-GMO, or others). However, there are a lot of flavors and varieties of kombucha available in the American market. We also assumed that for the purchasing trends, it was essential to include information about where kombucha was being sold and how brand managers were leveraging different store types to gain exposure for their brands. We then compared our findings from the American market with that of the Canadian market as covered in the previous request.

MARKET EVOLUTION

In 2017, the sale of kombucha and other fermented drinks in the United States rose by 37.4%. Kombucha, according to Euromonitor International, is predicted to have $656.7 million in sales in 2019. This prediction is almost double of what was recorded by SPINS at the end of 2016 — $375.4 million. According to Forbes, with a combined annual growth rate of 25% from 2015 to 2020, kombucha is the fastest-growing product in the area of functional beverage with sales expected to climb to $1.8 billion by 2020.

CONSUMER OPTIONS

Some of the popular kombucha brands that have been tasted and ranked include:
GT's Gingerade — Vernon, California; Health-Ade Pink Lady Apple — Torrance, California; Humm Strawberry Lemonade — Bend, Oregon; Brew Dr.’s Lemon Ginger Cayenne — Portland, Oregon; Pilot’s Kombucha Pomegranate Rose — Brooklyn, New York; and Blessed Brew Fairy Tonic — Beacon, New York.

Also, according to LA YOGA Magazine, the most popular and highly patronized brands available in the United States include Better Booch, Brew Dr. Kombucha, Bucha, Carpe Diem, Celestial Seasonings, Clearly Kombucha, GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha — Original, Health-Ade Kombucha, High Country Kombucha, and Humm. Others include Kevita Master Brew Kombucha — Ginger, Kombucha Dog, Kombucha Wonder Drink, Latta Original Kombucha, Lion Heart Kombucha — Ginger Fixx, Live Kombucha Soda, Reed’s Culture Club Kombucha, Synergy, The Bu, Unity Vibration, and Yogi Tea.

Based on regulations set by the US Alcohol and Tobacco Tax Trade Bureau, kombucha brands sold in commercial stores in the United States do not contain significant alcohol levels. However, consumers who brew at home will have significantly higher alcohol levels. In the US, kombucha brands market their brands as non-GMO, no preservatives, and organic; and they typically come in variants of flavors such as herbs & spices, berries, citrus, apple, coconut, and mango.

CONSUMPTION AND POPULARITY TRENDS

According to a 2015 report by Soft Drinks, kombucha is consumed by 51% of US adults between the ages of 25 and 34. This group of people is known to be more health-conscious. Kombucha has been gaining popularity in the United States because of the changing lifestyle toward more healthy, wellness and active lifestyles. The popularity of kombucha brands in stores, coffee shops, and taprooms has made it more popular among healthy American drinkers.

PURCHASING TRENDS

Kombucha is available in supermarkets and farmers' markets. Kombucha is made more visible on retail shelves, grocery store fridge aisles, juice bars, and coffee shops. There is also a rising trend of kombucha bars and taprooms.

Some kombucha brands have partnerships with restaurants and bars that are regarded highly in places like New York to help increase the exposure of the brands. Although kombucha is a retail-focused drink, it is gaining grounds in other channels. For instance, according to the COO, American Brewing Company's Bucha​was created to provide an alternative to sweet soda drinkers. Some brands are also trying to attract the 66% of coffee and tea drinkers who patronize coffee shops and commercial retail stores looking to try new flavors.

Also, health-conscious consumers are checking the websites of social media influencers before making purchasing decisions about Kombucha.

Consumer perceptions in United States Vs. Canada

  • Kombucha has been growing at 25% in the United States compared to a yearly growth of 20% in Canada.
  • The sale of kombucha and other fermented beverages in the same category increased by 37.4% in the United States compared to 41% in Canada in 2017.
  • The age range of those who typically consume kombucha in the United States is 25-34 years old as compared to 20-40 years old in Canada.
  • In Canada, it is reported that baby boomers also consume kombucha, but in the United States, kombucha is taken mainly by millennials.
  • In the United States, kombucha is mainly found in the grocery fridge sections and on the shelves, while in Canada, they are also placed in coolers at entry points of grocery stores.
  • In addition to restaurants and bars where kombucha is sold in both the United States and Canada, it is also available in coffee shops in the United States.
Part
03
of three
Part
03

Innovative Marketing Campaigns - Kombucha: United States and Canada

We have included interesting marketing campaigns ranging from creative social media campaigns to innovative out of home advertising for the following Kombucha brands: Kevita, Clearly Kombucha, Health Ade, Rise, and Tonica. Below are our detailed findings on each of the campaigns.

INNOVATIVE KOMBUCHA MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IN THE US

KEVITA

This campaign began with a series of five, 30-second videos of real brand fans engaging in their passions and narrating their inspirational stories. This included a professional ballerina, a surfer, a yoga instructor, a musician and a jam skater. The videos each drew more than 300,000 views on YouTube in less than a month, and were also featured on a campaign site — along with a user-generated content contest. To enter the contest, fans had to share what made them feel most alive, either by uploading their stories on the campaign site or posting them on Instagram or Twitter with #AliveLikeYouContest.

Three grand prize winners, chosen by the brand, each received $2,000 “to fulfill their passions.” The first 2,000 fans who entered the contest became honorary ambassadors and received “Alive Like You” shirts. The campaign also included targeted out-of-home advertising, influencer integration, digital advertising, sampling events and retail promotion.
We chose this campaign because it successfully incorporated the members of the public in its strategy and had good viewership on the content it created to support the campaign.

CLEARLY KOMBUCHA

Clearly Kombucha had a desire to increase brand awareness on their Kombucha flavors on social media. Under the hashtag #EatSleepBoochRepeat, fans were asked to post pictures of themselves and their drinks. The best photos were put up on the Clearly Kombucha website, and the photos reached over global 2 million impressions online.
We chose this campaign because this company creatively used social media to increase brand awareness and gathered a great global reach.

HEALTH ADE

Health Ade started with a signature pop-art look that built from their existing design centered nature, and a message that highlights what Health-Ade stands for as a brand: real life, real food, real kombucha.
They dubbed their campaign 'Real Real'. A tagline that was introduced via a digital, social and print campaign, along with a series of OOH creative that launched in NYC, one of their biggest markets. They had their ads at train stations, their art on walls and launched a digital ad to support this campaign.
We chose this campaign because it was nominated for the OBIE Awards under the Out of House Advertising category.

INNOVATIVE KOMBUCHA MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IN CANADA

RISE Kombucha

The team designed a media event at the Maison du Developpement Durable in Montreal. They then invited four of the city’s top mixologists to create two specialty cocktails each, one with alcohol and one without and got four local celebrities to judge the cocktails. The audience selected a “people’s champion” via Twitter. They also set up a photo booth in the venue and encouraged attendees to take photos and tweet them using a specific hashtag.

The event generated over 3 million social media impressions. Over 24 members of the local media attended the event but they generated over 30 total media hits because some media that were not in attendance requested samples upon hearing about the event via social media. Coverage highlights included articles in Le Huffington Post, Urbania, AskMen, Divine.ca, Notable, Urban Expressions Magazine, Zurbaines, and CTV.
We chose this campaign because it gathered great press coverage and social media impressions while really involving their audience.

TONICA KOMBUCHA

Seeking to raise its status as the leading kombucha brand, Tonica Kombucha developed stories that the mainstream market could easily relate with over a four-month media blitz. They created a media kit to educate the media on kombucha’s health benefits, as well as what makes Tonica Kombucha stand out among competitors. Their focus was on lifestyle outlets and writers, which positioned Tonica Kombucha as the beverage that can make their health goals a reality. They also positioned Tonica Kombucha’s CEO as a leading entrepreneur in the health food industry with a goal to make kombucha tea and healthy alternatives easily accessible to mainstream consumers.

This campaign secured 6 million impressions with coverage in Toronto Star, The Marilyn Denis Show and Newstalk1010. It attracted a mix of print, digital, radio and television coverage, capturing all mediums of news. Finally, it positioned Tonica Kombucha as a leading beverage, enabling the brand to raise its profile and create a buzz that would lead to an increase in sales.

We chose this campaign because of the impressive social media reach and media coverage.

Sources
Sources

From Part 01
Quotes
  • "Then there’s kombucha, which promises to regulate digestive health and improve energy levels. “It’s something that’s been growing 20% year over year,” says Szekely, adding that it’s popular among adults of all ages. "
Quotes
  • "Some big brands south of the border include: California’s GT’s Living Foods (founded in the 1990s), Oregon’s Brew Dr. Kombucha, and California’s KeVita (owned by Pepsi). Some local brands in and around Ontario include: Tonica Kombucha (Toronto, ON), VAMS Culture (Toronto, ON), RISE Kombucha (Montreal, QC), Live Kombucha (Guelph, ON), and goodvibes juice co. (Waterloo, ON)."