GT's Synergy Raw Kombucha

overall rating:

1.5

planets

Urszula Hunter
12/24/2021
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GT Dave started GT’s Living Foods after witnessing his mother consume high volumes of kombucha to aid her recovery from breast cancer. The company was the first commercial kombucha brand and now they also carry yogurt, kefir, a mushroom elixr, and aqua kefir.
I previously reviewed Kevita’s Master Brew Kombucha and was rather disappointed with the company’s lack of transparency regarding where their ingredients are sourced and the production process. I decided to review GT’s Living Foods in hopes of finding a more sustainable alternative. Both GT’s kombucha and Kevita kombucha retail for around $3.50 for 16 fluid ounces. Though GT’s was slightly more transparent and sustainable than Kevita I was still frustrated with how difficult it was to find information on their products.

What it's made of:

1.9

GT’s Synergy Raw Kombucha consists of three components; the kombucha, the glass bottle, and the bottle’s lid.
The kombucha itself is made of organic, unpasteurized ingredients. Organic agriculture is sustainable because it releases fewer toxins into the air and water and crops can be repeatedly grown in one location for more time than non-organic agriculture. The kombuchas do not contain a lot of ingredients and all of them are easily recognizable; this is very positive in my opinion. More ingredients increase the chance that there is an unrecognizable ingredient that is not sustainable. On the company’s website they stated that they source their ingredients from within the US “whenever possible.” Language such as “whenever possible” is suspicious as it is unclear how frequent this is. This could mean that the company is sourcing one ingredient in the US once a year or it could mean that they are sourcing the majority of their ingredients in the US. The website stated that the company also sources ingredients from organic farms in Central and South America and that they source their black and green teas from organic farms in India. While I appreciate that the company releases some information about where their products are sourced, this isn’t enough; companies should list exactly which farms they are sourcing from and which products are being sourced there. I am growing increasingly frustrated with companies’ lack of transparency regarding where they source their ingredients.
GT’s glass bottles are made of soda-lime glass. These bottles are recyclable and although the production of soda-lime glass is highly energy consuming, at this time the market lacks an eco-friendly packaging option for drinks that is more sustainable than glass and can be manufactured in large quantities.
I was unable to find what the lids of the bottles are made of but based on research I’ve done for previous reviews I assume that it is Polyprolylene (PP) plastic which can also be recycled into new materials. Plastic production is highly energy consuming and if it is not recycled into new materials, it does not degrade for 700 years. Even after 700 years, plastic merely degrades into smaller, equally toxic particles. Plastic is also soured from fossil fuels, which makes it even less sustainable. If GT’s Living Foods wanted to use more environmentally friendly packaging they could consider using glass lids.

How it's made:

1

There was almost no information on how GT’s Kombucha is manufactured which I was also very disappointed with. From my previous research I learned that the manufacturing process of kombucha starts with a tea base, usually black tea. A starter tea and SCOBY are then added; these are the fermenting ingredients that give kombucha its health and probiotic properties. The company brews their kombucha in small batches- 2.5 gallon glass jars- to ensure quality control. While I appreciate that they are ensuring the quality of their product, GT’s does not provide any other information for me to use to form an opinion on whether or not this is sustainable. The kombucha is left in a hot room for ten days to ferment- GT’s is still not providing any information on how hot the room is or what energy source they are using to heat the rooms.
GT’s Kombucha is only retailed in the United States, meaning the transportation aspect of the product lifestyle is likely less energy consuming than companies that sell their product internationally. With that being said, I do not know that there are any kombucha brands that are sold internationally- Kevita also only retails their product in the US- so I doubt that this is a conscious decision that the company is making in an effort to be more sustainable.
After finding that neither GT’s Living Foods nor Kevita were very transparent about their product life cycle, I decided to look into a third kombucha brand- Health Ade- and I discovered that this brand also did not disclose any information about the specifics of their manufacturing process or where their products are manufactured. I am very suspicious and curious as to why brands aren’t sharing how they make their kombucha.

Who makes it:

1.5

I was not able to form a solid opinion on GT’s Living Foods. I like the story of the origin of the company that I mentioned in the opening paragraph of this review. The company also offers a $250,000 scholarship to aid the education of LGBTQ+ youth. I think that this is important for sustainable marketing; the market needs to be a more inclusive and diverse space and the promotion of education is a key component of this. However, I know that GT’s has the money and resources to be doing a lot more to make social changes or promote environmentalism and sustainability.