The launch of the No.1 Kombucha brand follows Wilkinson’s growing interest in fermented food and drink to help tackle physical and mental health issues. Kombucha is believed to have a number of health benefits, including helping with insomnia, diabetes, gut health and a general improvement in mental and physical wellbeing.
The brand, made from a blend of filtered water, organic green tea, organic cane sugar and what the makers describe as ‘scoby’ – a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast, is said to be naturally rich in live cultures and therefore beneficial to health.
Fresh fruit juice and botanicals are added during the product’s fermentation to add flavour, resulting in a low-sugar, lightly sparkling drink.
The drinks, which will be launched exclusively in Sainsbury’s today (Wednesday 23 May), are available in three flavours – Ginger and Turmeric; Passionfruit, Goji and Raspberry; and Pomegranate and Hibiscus. The 275ml bottles will retail for £1.95.
No.1 Kombucha is described as a “healthy and tasty alternative to sweet fizzy drinks, coffee or alcohol” and is dairy-free, gluten-free and suitable for vegans.
Wilkinson said: “Six years ago I started a journey to create a product that would offer a healthier choice for consumers. I chose to launch a kombucha drink because it is a living food that can have a positive impact on wellbeing. We spent a considerable amount of time refining the recipe to make it as delicious
as possible and an easy choice for consumers wanting to make small, positive steps towards improving their health.”
Tastemakers founders Lucy Ede and Lucy Thomas told Food Manufacture: “Jonny Wilkinson came to us with a brief to help develop a range of products that were beneficial to the body and mind. They taste great, are naturally effervescent and contain real fruit.
“It was a challenging brief as fermented tea drinks are truly alive! The manufacturing process involves long fermentations that need careful monitoring and adjustments. It involved us finding a brewing facility that had the right capabilities and scale up potential, working with them on our kitchen concepts to a shelf-stable range has been inspiring.”
See a full interview with Tastemakers in the June issue of Food Manufacture, out soon.