Most Americans don’t eat enough fruits or vegetables. In fact, a 2017 CDC study showed that only 1 in 10 adults eat the recommended 1.5-2 cups of fruit and 2-3 cups of vegetables per day. This can be a big problem, since a lack of fruit and vegetable consumption can lead to a number of health issues.
That’s why Kencko created an easy way to get more fruits and veggies into your diet: an instant smoothie mix that just needs water and a shake.
And on Wednesday, the company announced a $3.4 million seed funding round to kickstart its business.
Each Kencko smoothie packet weighs 20 grams and contains two servings of fruit and vegetables. To make each packet, the company flash-freezes, then slow-dries its fruits and vegetables before turning them into the smoothie powder. By doing this, Kencko is able to preserve all the nutritional value from its fruits and vegetables — unlike cold-pressed juicing, which often removes fiber or other nutrients.
Kencko’s process also increases the food’s shelf life to over 8 months. This hits one of the company’s core values: sustainability.
“Over 50 percent of all produce goes to waste,” Kencko co-founder Ricardo Vice Santos told Built In.
That’s because fruits and vegetables only have a small window of time before they go bad. But by freeze-drying the fruits and veggies, Kencko prolongs their life and cuts back on food waste.
Kencko also focuses on sustainability with eco-friendly packaging. The company makes sure its packaging is recyclable, but it’s also in the process of rolling out compostable packaging. The company told Built In that, by the end of July, the smoothie packets for all six of its flavors will be compostable.
Creating compostable packaging for food is a taller task than it sounds like, due to humidity and the nature of food decay.
Santos told Built In that Kencko’s next step is creating flavors for specific needs. For example, the company may create a smoothie that’s rich in iron for someone who has an iron deficiency, or creating a smoothie that caters to a specific dietary restriction.
The company also said that it will use the seed funding to hire nutritionists and people for its cuisine team, as well as for positions across the board. Kencko wants its brand to not only be about healthy diets, but also healthy habits.