The deal was understood to be a first for the Australian market and was underpinned by demand from within the Pacific Islander community in Australia.
Kava has also seen an acceptance in the US where there are kava bars. The drink, made from the roots of the kava plant, and culturally important in the islands, was not considered addictive but does has calming properties.
However, the Victorian Government’s Better Health website said over the long term kava can be associated with apathy, malnutrition and liver damage.
“In small doses, the effects of kava include muscle relaxation, sleepiness and feelings of wellbeing,” the site said.
The deal with Coles would be the first to supply a ready-to-drink product and was aimed at what the company said was the low-no alcohol market which had a global value of $US11 billion in 2023.
The kava would be sold under the Tak Mai brand in 50mL shots. The Calmer Co said the shot would contain 5 calories, 1.2grams total carbs and more than five times the potassium contained in a banana.
The company already sells through Amazon and had been selling a powdered FijiKava through Coles since a deal in 2022.
Chief executive Anthony Noble said a 150g product will also be sold through 300 Coles stores.
“The Tak Mai kava shot is an extremely exciting new product for us,” he said.
The shot was also better tasting and could be used in mocktails.
“The health benefits of reducing alcohol consumption are well known and coupling this with the relaxing effects and established health benefits of kava makes a lot of sense,” he said.
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