Kombucha future: Dubai brand Saba enjoys sales boom as pandemic heightens health drive
The firm was founded last year and claims to be the only company brewing organic kombucha in the emirate. Its products are available on its e-commerce site, and via retailers Spinneys, Waitrose, Carrefour, Kibsons International as well as several organic cafes in UAE.
The firm also reported 20% more orders from organic retail shops. Its current best-selling product is the ginger and turmeric kombucha.
Founder Vincent Vandenabeele told us: “People are now more aware that they need to improve their health in general and the key to do is to boost the immune system to fight any kind of virus and keep the energy level up.”
He added the firm took more than 18 months to perfect its formulations, which stayed true to traditional brewing practices.
“We brew every batch in small quantities to ensure the perfect balance of naturally occurring live and active cultures. We managed to create a very specific process to keep all benefits of the kombucha unpasteurised.
“This keeps all the probiotics and good bacteria intact, meaning we don’t lose any of the health benefits.”
Its kombucha are brewed with black tea, except the classic variation which is a combination of green and black tea.
The firm now hopes to tap on the increasing consumer trend in health and wellness to create more products for the Middle East market, and recently launched an exclusive Cardamon flavour for Ramadan.
According to Vandenabeele, cardamom is a popular spice in the region, and widely appreciated for its health benefits.
“The cardamom spice is part of the ginger family which has some medicinal properties that have been used in traditional medicine for years. Some of the health benefits are anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, antibacterial effects, antioxidant properties, helps aids digestion and liver protection.”
The firm hopes its kombucha drinks can not only boost the immune system during this time of devotion, but can also give the body essential vitamins and nutrients while fasting during the humid months.
The firm recommends drinking Kombucha on an empty stomach or before meals for optimal digestive benefits, adding that it may also help with weight management. The suggested daily intake is 0.5 litres.
Vandenabeele told us the firm is working on getting their products halal certified and hopes to expand into other GCC nations next year.
He believes consumers across the region are increasingly looking for natural products such as fermented foods and drinks, pointing to growing demand for milk kefir, nondairy kefir and probiotic yogurts.
“Fermented foods and drinks are very important for the gut health. A healthy gut contributes to a strong immune system, heart health, brain health, improved mood, healthy sleep, and effective digestion, and it may help prevent some other disease and infections.”
Analysts say the Middle East and Africa kombucha market was valued at US$75mn last year and is tipped to enjoy an annual CAGR of 25% to $232m by 2025.