Functional food and beverage sales grew 7.5% to $68 billion in 2018. Beverages and snacks are the biggest growth categories, while probiotics are one of the most popular functional ingredients.

Nutrition Business Journal

Craft beer sales increased 8% in 2017, up to $26 billion. Craft beer now accounts for more than 23% of the $111.4 billion U.S. beer market. – Brewers Association

Starbucks Enters Kombucha Market

Starbucks is entering the kombucha market. Evolution Fresh Organic Kombucha (the cold-pressed juice brand purchased by Starbucks) is selling kombucha in seven major U.S. cities. Evolution Fresh says they decided to expand into kombucha because their customers want “beverages with functional benefits.” They also cite the 36 percent growth increase last year in the kombucha and fermented beverages category.

Read more (CNN Money) (Photo: Starbucks)

The use of pickled onions in U.S. restaurants and diners has grown 191% in the last four years. – Datassential.

The Fermentation Association (TFA), getting more people to enjoy fermented products. Join us at fermentationassociation.org .

As sake becomes mainstream, more restaurants are hiring sake sommeliers. These sommeliers – who help pair the best sake with a meal – are educating diners about the fermented rice wine beverage. There’s a misconception that sake can only be served with Japanese food, but the wine and sake director of Zuma operations in the U.S. says: “Sake is becoming more than just a beverage for Japanese cuisine and we, as sake sommeliers, are looking to have sake displayed in all aspects of restaurant culture.”

Read more (Forbes)

Statistical proof that kombucha is all the rage. Sales of kombucha and other fermented beverages grew 37.4% to $556 million in 2017. The top five brands — GT’s Kombucha, KeVita, Health-Ade Kombucha, Brew Dr. Kombucha and LIVE Beverages — all grew by double digits. West coasters continue to be the biggest kombucha drinkers, and ginger and berry the top two best selling flavors. The Fermentation Association (TFA), getting more people to enjoy fermented products. Join us at fermentationassociation.org .

As fermented foods become mainstream, more products are launching and “each new brand is having to work even harder to capture consumers’ attention,” says the managing director of Carter Wong design studio. Kefir drink brand Nomadic (formerly Bio Green Dairy) is launching a new line of drinks. Their unique packaging labels were designed by the studio as part of Nomadic’s acquisition and rebrand. The aim of the packaging was to stand out on a supermarket shelf and include typography with an “authentic eastern European feel.”

Read more (Packaging Today Magazine)

Thanks to Minnesota’s recent Cottage Food Law, 2,300 food startups have popped up in the state. The law allows micro businesses that make under $18,000 a year to sell their products at co-ops, farmers’ markets and grocery stores without a license. Fermented foods are some of the most popular in the state’s wave of local food retailers because most fermented foods don’t require refrigeration and allow for creativity in the kitchen.

Read more (Twin Cities Pioneer Press)

Fermented, probiotic-rich foods are key to a flat belly and glowing skin, shares Elle magazine. But “Biofermentation is the next wave in the beauty industry,” adds the founder and CEO of Orveda. Fermented skincare products blend bacteria with fermented botanicals to work with the skin’s natural microflora. The magazine concludes: “a clean, calm gut will ensure your skin is lit from within and a fermented-rich routine will guarantee the glow won’t go.”

Read more (Elle Magazine)

The Pickle Juice received its USDA organic certification, big news for the only trademarked pickle juice sports beverage. The bottled drink also recently earned its OU Kosher Certification. A healthier alternative than traditional sports drinks, The Pickle Juice has no artificial flavoring or preservatives, and contains 14 times the electrolytes found in an average sports drink. Perfect for athletes, scientific research shows that pickle juice relieves muscle cramps in 60 seconds.

Read more (BevNet)