Julia Buech
Julia Büch is a Food and Drink Analyst, specialising in delivering insights on issues affecting the German market, providing analysis across a range of categories.

Fermentation is currently experiencing a revival in the food and drinks industry. Not only does it add a unique, slightly acidic taste, but it’s also recognised for supporting digestive health by turning food and drinks into powerhouses of beneficial probiotics and friendly bacteria.

Most importantly, fermentation is the natural alternative to artificially carbonated soft drinks, which dominate the market. Currently, 55% of consumers in Spain, 53% in Poland and 43% in France agree that carbonated soft drinks are better-for-you if made only with natural ingredients.

As European consumers are interested in soft drinks with functional ingredients, such as vitamins, minerals, protein, and probiotics, there’s an opportunity for fermented drinks to cater to multiple demands.

Fermented soft drinks bubbling up

The European market is witnessing a rise of fermented beverage new product launches. Kombucha is the current star among fermented soft drinks, although it has been consumed for thousands of years in Asia. Known locally as an “immortal health elixir”, the fermented, probiotic tea drink is becoming increasingly popular in the West, where it is marketed as a healthy alternative to artificial soft drinks.

Sparkling water kefir is now emerging in the market. Similar to its more well-known dairy kefir counterpart, the water version is a fermented and teeming with beneficial probiotic bacteria. It is made by adding water kefir grains to liquids including water, coconut water, or fruit infusions.

Mattisson Healthstyle Organic Living Lemonade with Ginger & Curcuma, Netherlands: The sparkling, sugar-free and raw lemonade is described as a single-fermented beverage that contains ginger, curcuma, pepper and probiotics.

Kefir Zing Sparkling Blackcurrant Live Culture Drink, UK: This soft drink contains live natural kefir cultures combined with filtered water and fruity infusions. It’s sweetened with stevia and only contains 17 calories per bottle.

Suja Organic Green Tea Kombucha, US: The fermented green tea has been boosted with five billion probiotic cultures, moringa (a tree leaf used in holistic healing) and sea-born superfoods chlorella and spirulina.

Suja Grapefruit Jalapeño Drinking Vinegar, US: While drinking vinegars are still in their infancy, they have slowly started to gain a following. This product is made with coconut vinegar, coconut water, grapefruit, beet, ginger, stevia, vegan probiotics and jalapeño. It contains 48 probiotics, 15 calories and 3g sugar, and is said to help gut health.