Non-profit trade association Kombucha Brewers International (KBI) has released the kombucha industry’s first code of practice, in an effort to unify standards across the sector.
The code of practice follows a five-year development, designed to not only unify the industry but to create transparency for consumers to enable informed decisions.
The new guidelines offer a food safety and quality standard for kombucha producers and aim to promote continued innovation within the category.
While based in the US, KBI represents the commercial kombucha industry worldwide and includes members such as Revive Kombucha and Flying Embers. The organisation aims to create an open line of communication between brewers, consumers and regulators, while advancing the industry through education and modern legislation.
Following its release, the definitions and requirements defined in the code of practice will serve as the global unified standard. Traditional kombucha tea is defined as a beverage obtained from fermenting tea leaves, sugar and a symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY).
The new guidelines standardises manufacturing practices across the industry, establishing key descriptors and differentiators of the brewing and fermentation process, as well as the finished product. It also includes general hygiene and labelling requirements.
“We are thrilled to officially launch the code of practice for the kombucha industry,” said Hannah Crum, co-founder and president of KBI.
She continued: “This has been a long time in the making, so to see it finally come to fruition is a key milestone in the life of our young industry. We continue to grow at a rapid pace with more new brands and products entering the category than ever before.
“The aim of the code is to celebrate the diversity of the category, honour the spirit of kombucha’s ancient origins while also acknowledging that consumers have varied criteria in selecting brands.
“The code is specifically structured as a flexible framework that will be updated on a regular basis to reflect innovations and additional research. For producers and consumers alike, the code provides a credible source of clarity and increases confidence that ‘what’s on the label is what’s in the bottle’.”
Built on the framework outlined in the code of practice, KBI is developing a seal programme which will allow brewers to certify their kombucha as authentic.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020