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When I was a kid, my parents' insistence that I "eat my fruits and veggies" felt like nothing short of a death sentence. Put me in front of a pint of ice cream and it was smooth sailing. Nowadays, however, I find myself craving salad. Not only have my tastes changed over time, they've done a full 180: especially when it's been a while between healthy meals, I find myself drooling over simple, fresh produce.
That's not to say I eat monastically – in fact it's the lack of whole foods I get that makes me crave them even more. The fact is, the foods that are best for us are rarely the most convenient. My Vitamix might live on the counter specifically to inspire me to start my days with a green drink, but once those emails start flying I always grab a granola bar instead. And when it comes to easy lunches, empty carbs are always king. What's quicker than a grab-and-go sandwich?
The solution for those of us on the go has to be to get our nutrients fast – which is exactly what Kencko was designed to deliver.
BACK TO BASICS
When Tomas Froes, who co-founded Kencko along with Ricardo Vice Santos, was diagnosed with acute gastritis, his cure turned out to be all-natural – a switch to a 90% fruit and vegetable diet. Inspired to bring these foods to a larger market, he and Santos named their brand after the Japanese word for "health," newly convinced of the impact nutrient-rich food can have even in fighting serious illness.
They've had tremendous success, with their initial line of six smoothies doubling to a full dozen, with vitamin-rich gummies and instant meal bowls also entering the fray. The common denominator for all of Kencko’s offerings is organic, all-natural ingredients, as well as incredible convenience. The gumdrops are ready made, the smoothies shake up instantly, and even the fuller meals require 10 minutes or less of soaking in hot water.
Once I got a look at Kencko’s subscription plans, I knew I had to take them for a spin. I went ahead and grabbed four types of bowls, four flavors of smoothies, and four packs of gummies to sample a wide variety.
And once that package arrived, "what should I make to eat?" became the easiest question of my day to answer.
SHAKIN' IT UP
I opened my smoothie box and was instantly delighted by a sleek, white shaker bottle. The bottle comes with a Max Fill line for the liquid of your choice, as well as a fine-mesh strainer inside to help break up any clumps. Each flavor packet is small and easily portable, with flash-freezed, slow-dried fruit that comes as powder while still retaining its nutrients and fiber.
These smoothies became my go-to morning jolt, with nothing needed on my end but 12 oz. of cold water (or milk if you prefer), and a few seconds of elbow grease to shake them up. I truly enjoyed every flavor, between the carrot and pineapple of Yellows, the berry-packed Purples, and the tart stone fruit of Peaches. But perhaps because of my own failures to make my green smoothies from scratch, I adored getting spinach, kale, and apple from Greens all in ten seconds flat.
I found zero need to tweak these drinks for flavor, and maybe just the occasional re-shake to dissolve leftover solid bits. But considering these little guys counted for half of my 5-a-day goal, I'd say they packed plenty of bang for their buck.
These gumdrops "taste like candy, if candy was your friend." That's because they have no refined sugars, relying instead on the natural sweetness found in strawberries, mangoes, and other punchy fruits.
The gummies felt like a fun bonus worth checking out. I've got a mean sweet tooth, and if I'm not careful that translates into random sweet treats peppering my day well before dessert. According to Kencko, though, these gumdrops "taste like candy, if candy was your friend." That's because they have no refined sugars, relying instead on the natural sweetness found in strawberries, mangoes, and other punchy fruits.
Though they only deliver one of the 5-a-day goal on their own, that's still pretty impressive for a small 80 gram package. And here again I was a fan of all four flavors: Berrylicious (strawberry, beet), Passionista (passionfruit, turmeric), Gingerella (orange, ginger), and Bananarama (banana, sweet potato.) The first two were the most delicious, with the sweetest flavors for sure, while Gingerella I admired for its immune support and Bananarama for its aid in digestion. They're all vegan, fiber-rich, and the only preservative inside is lemon juice.
Kencko's bowls on the other hand, by far the brand’s most substantial offering, weren't the same unanimous slam dunk. The white bowl that comes with your first order (as well as the cute yellow band that helps fasten it for transport) is both chic and super helpful, giving plenty of room for products to fluff up inside. And with four of your 5 daily cups of fruits and veggies in each serving, there's no denying this is the product line that's closest to a full meal.
Still, it's hard to shake the texture – or lack thereof – of rehydrated food. Of the four flavors I tried, the Beet That beetroot soup and the Souper-Fast minestrone were the most satisfying. Since soup's always meant to be liquid-based, these felt more on par with their freshly-made equivalents. I also enjoyed the Easy Chickpeasy Mediterranean couscous, since the chickpeas themselves broke up the sea of couscous.
For my next order – I'll be loading up on smoothies and gummies, with maybe a few instant soups to round things out.
No matter how you design your shipment, the beauty of Kencko is the myriad of different ways to get your body the nutrients it needs. With over 12 million smoothies sold in just three years, it's abundantly clear that the market is there, and it's full of happy customers. After this first round, you can count me among them.
FIVE MORE REASONS TO GET YOUR GREENS WITH KENCKO:
1. Kencko's freeze-drying technology helps customers waste up to 30% less food.
2. With its reusable smoothie bottle, meal bowl and fully compostable materials, Kencko has totally eliminated single-use plastics.
3. Looking for some help along the way? Your Kencko subscription comes with a free, personalized 60-day nutrition coaching program (a $300+ value).
4. Kencko subscriptions can repeat every 2, 3 or 4 weeks, giving you flexibility over how much product you need and how much you wish to spend.
5. From acai to zucchini, Kencko gets you the full A to Z of fruits, veggies and spices, including rarer ingredients like maca and flax you might not be getting elsewhere.