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Kefir And Kombucha Growth Ferments In Europe

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Three new reports from Zenith Global find strikingly different characteristics and opportunities

Three new reports from global food and drink experts Zenith Global find strikingly different characteristics and opportunities in the fermented drinks categories of kefir, kombucha and apple cider vinegar in Europe.


Kefir is a long-established market in East Europe and now growing fast in West Europe as a probiotic dairy drink to benefit gut health and the immune system.

Russia is the dominant country, with 67% of the 1,291 million litre market in 2018. In West Europe, however, kefir is just beginning to catch on and is set to grow by 12% a year up to 2023, almost doubling its overall European share from 9% to 17%.

“The main growth markets are expected to be the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Italy and Spain, with Germany and Poland also contributing strongly,” commented Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall. “New product launches and marketing to a wider consumer base will be key factors.”


Kombucha, a lightly sparkling tea-based drink that is fermented for days or weeks, is at a much earlier stage of market development, even though its origins date back centuries.

Zenith Global values the European market at €66 million in 2018, mainly in West Europe, achieving growth of 35% in 2017 and 38% in 2018. Continuing volume growth of 35-40% a year is forecast up to 2023.

“Kombucha has the triple attraction of a distinctive adult taste, probiotic health benefit and a lifestyle alternative to alcohol,” added Richard Hall.

Apple cider vinegars

The European market for ready to drink apple cider vinegars is far smaller at under €1 million, led by the United Kingdom and Denmark. 2018 volume growth was close to 50%, indicating this could become another fermented drink market segment of potential.


“From small beginnings outside their traditional bases, these three emerging drinks markets are forecast to achieve high growth over the next five years,” concluded Zenith Chairman Richard Hall.

“Fermented drinks clearly chime with consumer demand for authentic, natural, tasty and healthy products with an element of adventure and challenge. Millennials, in particular, are joining a new culture club for cultured drinks.”


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