The Coca-Cola Company has acquired kombucha maker Organic & Raw Trading Co, which makes the MOJO brand of naturally fermented, live culture, organic kombucha drinks.
Kombucha is the fastest-growing beverage category in Australia. This is the first time Coca-Cola has acquired full ownership of a brand in the category. Terms were not disclosed.
“In just over eight years, Organic & Raw has gone from selling MOJO at a local farmers’ market to producing one of Australia’s leading organic kombucha brands,” said Vamsi Mohan, President of Coca-Cola Australia.
“Our goal is to bring MOJO to more Australians by making it available in more places across the country. Consumers will be able to see the same great MOJO products on more store shelves.
“This is another important step in our company’s ongoing work to offer beverages for all occasions, which continues our evolution as a total beverage company,” Mr Mohan said. “Across Australia, we now have more than 165 products and 25 brands. The addition of MOJO kombucha fits perfectly with the growing popularity of organic, probiotic drinks.”
Anthony Crabb, co-founder and CEO of Organic & Raw, perfected his handmade, fermented drink in his home in 2010. Since then, MOJO has grown rapidly, using the highest-quality organic ingredients, including real fruit for great taste.
Two key leaders who have been responsible for driving MOJO’s growth, Mr Crabb, and Sales and Marketing Director Andrew Buttery, will remain in their current roles.
“When we started out, we couldn’t have imagined the incredible growth and consumer demand we see today,” Mr Crabb said.
“As we continued to innovate, we soon realised that for us to take the business to the next level and provide probiotic beverages to even more people, we needed to find the right strategic partner. We found this partner in Coca-Cola.”
Organic & Raw’s biggest selling kombucha is MOJO CRAFTED KOMBUCHA, a low-sugar, naturally-fermented, live-culture, organic drink.
“With this acquisition, Coca-Cola Australia can take a leading role in helping The Coca-Cola Company in the still-emerging, premium-probiotic kombucha category, which is the fastest-growing beverage category in Australia,” Mr Mohan said. “This is a strong opportunity for us.”
Keeping MOJO’s Heart and Soul
MOJO’s humble beginnings link to founder Crabb’s introduction to the concept of a live-culture drink, which requires a SCOBY-starter (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast). This put him on a journey to perfect the MOJO culture, which is at the heart of what makes his brew of kombucha so distinctive.
“It is a hands-on approach, to ensure MOJO has one of the highest-quality, naturally fermented and brewed beverages in Australia,” Mr Crabb said. “Each bottle that leaves our site is made with Certified Organic ingredients under stringent quality controls and 100% love. Coca-Cola enables us to expand our reach while keeping our heart and soul.”
Mr Mohan credits the convergence of several consumer trends with driving MOJO’s rapid growth.
“Australians are increasingly after great-tasting, low sugar drinks that deliver additional functional benefits, such as gut health,” he said.
“They also support sustainable packaging options, and MOJO uses clear glass bottles that can be recycled. MOJO will play an important part in helping Coca-Cola meet our commitment to reduce sugar by 20% by 2025 and in meeting our sustainability commitments through providing recyclable packages.”
MOJO products are currently sold in about 4,000 outlets nationwide. MOJO is available in local health food stores, organic markets, organic café restaurants and supermarkets that include Aldi, Costco, Foodland, IGA and Woolworths.
Both companies hope to learn from each other.
“Coca-Cola is a total beverage company with massive intellectual capital,” Mr Crabb said. “We can learn a lot about consumer trends and marketing innovation, while Coca-Cola can benefit from MOJO’s unique understanding of fermentation and what it takes to build great tasting brewed beverages.”