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Kombucha startup receives support from Future Food & Bioresource Innovation

The Food eHub at the Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, has helped a local start-up company to secure funding from Future Food & Bioresource Innovation. The funding will support the development of the product Olden Kombucha, a fermented drink made with tea, in cooperation with the Aarhus University School of Engineering and the company ISI Food Protection.

[Translate to English:] Foto: Olden Kombucha

With the help of the Food eHub (Food entrepreneurial hub) at the Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, the local start-up company Olden Kombucha has managed to secure funding of approximately DKK 168,000 from Future Food & Bioresource Innovation.   

Olden Kombucha is a one-person company started by Andrei Ogrezeanu, who is a business administration student at Aarhus University:

- For some years, I have been interested in natural products and well-being. In 2018 I decided to start brewing kombucha, which is a fermented drink made with tea and other natural ingredients, originating from Asia and associated with certain health benefits. Fermentation is a forgotten production process based on natural solutions rather than easy solutions, and I am working on bringing it alive again, Andrei Ogrezeanu says and continues:

- The funding from Future Food & Bioresource Innovation will help me to develop a new prototype of shelf-stable kombucha, thus a product that can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container, where the active probiotics of the product are preserved until the time of consumption, and the B12 level remains high enough to cover the daily needs of a vegan. I need scientific expertise for this work, and therefore I am collaborating with Aarhus University and ISI Food Protection. 

Future Food & Bioresource Innovation is located at Agro Business Park, and it has the goal of strengthening innovation and assuring an international, competitive Danish food and bioresource industry. This shall be achieved by bringing the companies, knowledge and end users together so that new, innovative products can be developed and commercialized. Future Food & Bioresource Innovation is approved by the Danish Business Promotion Board and financed by the regional funds of the European Union as well as private cofounding by the participating companies


Controlling the fermentation process

The three project partners have just had a startup meeting, where some of the first tests have been organized. Bo Spange, Assistant Professor at the Aarhus University School of Engineering, explains:

- Our main challenge is to make the product more stable. We need to control the production of carbon dioxide and assure that the fermentation of the product is not too high, which would make the lids of the bottles fall off. Therefore, we will first examine and adjust the level of sugar in the product and do shelf-life tests. We will use methods that we are familiar with from the production of for example beer and apple cider, but we have not worked with kombucha before, so this is a new example of fermentation.

The researchers and experts from Aarhus University and ISI Food Protection will also focus on the nutritional value of the product:

- We are able to measure the B12 level of the product, and this makes it possible for us to adjust it according to our findings. We might need to add some more vitamin in order to achieve the desired level. Furthermore, we will monitor the active probiotics of the products. Our goal is to promote the growth of desired cultures, while inhibiting the growth of undesired cultures, says Bo Spange and concludes:

- At the Aarhus University School of Engineering, we are always excited about the possibility to bring our knowledge about food technology into play and contribute to the success of an innovative, local startup. When we are collaborating with private companies, we give our students a unique opportunity to solve the challenges of an actual company.

About the project

Collaboration partnersOlden Kombucha, Aarhus University School of Engineering and ISI Food Protection.
FundingThe project is funded by Future Food & Bioresource Innovation with DKK 168,209. The total project value is DKK 333,704 and the difference is financed through working hours by Olden Kombucha and ISI Food Protection.
ContactAndrei Ogrezeanu - Olden Kombucha - E-mail: ao@oldenkombucha.dk 

 Bo Spange Sørensen - Aarhus University School of Engineering - E-mail: bo.spange@ase.au.dk - Phone: +4529484500