Following on from the Federal Government’s decision to declassify drinking kava as a prohibited substance last month, Fiji Kava (ASX: FIJ) has seen strong demand from their online pre-order with such demand even promoting Coles to place its first orders for the native drink of Fiji.
Interest around drinking kava comes after Trade Minister Dan Tehan’s office formally announced on December 1 that companies will be able to apply to import drinking kava to Australia from that date.
It was the first time since 2007 that drinking kava was allowed to be imported into Australia. That was when Kava (Piper mysticum) was classified as a prohibited import substance in Australia in response to concerns that the abuse of kava was contributing to negative health and social outcomes in some indigenous communities.
Fiji Kava will begin marketing drinking kava in Australia through their FijiKava Instant Kava and Taki Mai Traditional Grind brands in 2022 with Coles confirming FijiKava Instant Kava will be stocked on shelves from January, in selected locations.
“FijiKava’s drinking kava range is our best seller in the USA and in the Fijian market, where sales outpace capsules by 5:1,” said Fiji Kava CEO, Anthony Noble.
“We have seen very strong pre-sales in Australia which demonstrate the latent demand for safe and high-quality Noble Fijian drinking kava.
“The Australian Government’s steps to execute this Commercial Pilot program, initially operating for two years, will mean a great deal to Australian residents with South Pacific Island heritage and in particular to the Fijian diaspora, for whom drinking kava is an extremely culturally important practice.”
Distribution of drinking kava at Coles supermarkets continues an existing relationship with the national chain which already sells medicinal kava capsules in its healthcare aisles.
Kava is a drink native to the Pacific Islands, notably Fiji, derived from kava roots. Like beer, drinking kava has sedative effects on the body without any presence of alcohol. Also like beer, it is very bitter in taste and has primarily been used in Australia in powdered form as a medicinal treatment for anxiety and stress.
As part of the declassification process, Government documentation estimated that in 2007 when classified as a prohibited substance, around 70 metric tonnes of drinking kava was being imported into Australia per annum. Since then, the number of Australians with South Pacific heritage has more than doubled.
Editor Note: On 10 December 2021, a representative of Coles contacted this website to confirm no deal had been agreed to for kava to be stocked in Coles supermarkets or Coles Local, contrary to the ASX Announcement released by Fiji Kava (ASX: FIJ) on 9 December 2021. Fiji Kava was contacted for comment, but did not respond.
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