Food and the city

Research

Leigh Turner researches kombucha as a tool for conscious consumption

Students from the Reinwardt Academy in Amsterdam work together with Aeres University of Applied Sciences on specific research questions. In short interviews we introduce the students and their research to you. This time we asked a few questions to Leigh Turner.
  •  Leestijd 3 minutes
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Who are you and what do you study?

My name is Leigh Turner and I study a masters in applied museum and heritage studies at the Reinwardt Academie. I have a background in horeca and consumer-facing roles.

What is the topic of your research? Can you tell us a bit about what you are curious about?

My research is on the topic of heritage and conscious consumption, specifically on how the heritage of a drink, in this case kombucha, can be used to influence consumer behaviours towards more healthy and sustainable consumption.

How do you approach the study?

I have conducted desk research, in order to find out what the heritage of kombucha is, and find other research that uses heritage to influence consumption. I conducted interviews with professionals working in the the field of kombucha, I delivered a survey online to measure participants motivations when making drinks purchases and I posted two research boards in the Volkskantine to find out what motivates people to choose a drink, and what they associate with kombucha.

What are your main conclusions? 

Firstly I found out that the heritage of kombucha is not straightforward, there is no definite history until the modern day, and many countries and groups have different claims on its origins. Even it’s authentic recipes and ingredients are somewhat unknown. Likewise I believed kombucha to be a definitively healthy drink, and many people believe the same, but this varies and is largely unproved.

The conclusions I have about motivations are also varied, but consumer ethics and attitudes play a big part in their likelihood to purchase consciously. Kombucha is a drink that can be made sustainably and with local ingredients, many people are motivated to brew kombucha themselves as the process is creative, can make unique and exciting tastes and brings together small creative communities.

How does your research contribute to Flevo Campus or Almere?

I was hoping to give Flevo Campus practical recommendations on how to use the heritage of kombucha to influence consumers, but as kombucha in its commercial form is not such a conscious product these recommendations may be different. I hope my research can be used to influence people to undertake homebrewing themselves by showing the rich history of kombucha brewing in various cultures, and to encourage consumers to educate themselves on the background and ingredients of a product so they can make decisions consciously.

Leigh developed a poster to conclude her research which can be viewed here: ‘How can the heritage elements of kombucha be utilised to encourage conscious consumption?’

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