Kencko Review: Are These Powder-Based Smoothies Any Good?
Eating the daily recommended fruits and vegetables may be optimal for your health, but realistically it can feel like a chore. When you’re already juggling countless deadlines and commitments, healthy eating might be the last thing on your mind. It makes the mere idea of making a smoothie in the morning — and having to wash the blender afterwards — sound like a nightmare.
Enter Kencko smoothies
(available from Kencko)
: A brand of powder packs made from only organic, quick-frozen and slow-dried fruits and vegetables. All they need is a quick shake with your choice of water or milk before enjoying. That means you have time, even on your busiest day, to get some essential vitamins and minerals.
What is Kencko?
Founder Tomàs Froes started Kencko as a simple way to get essential daily nutrients.
With a title that means “health” in Japanese, Kencko was created to help more Americans hit their fruit, vegetable, and fiber goals. Founder Tomás Froes stumbled upon the idea after making smoothies with freeze-dried fruit to treat his acute gastritis. When he realized how convenient this technique made it to getting his five daily servings of fruit and vegetables, he decided to share it with others.
Kencko offers subscriptions based on smoothie quantity. You can choose between a 7-pack and a 60-pack, which will be delivered every four weeks. Once you have selected your box size, you decide which smoothies you would like delivered.
There are over 20 different varieties – most are named for the color themes of the ingredients (e.g. “Crimsons”, “Yellows” and “Ultra Greens”), others focus on flavor (enter “Spicy Tomatoes”) .
Each smoothie pack highlights its outstanding health benefits; Some are labeled “Power Up” or “Performance” for high protein, iron and anti-inflammatory properties, while others are touted for “Repair” or “Skin Health” thanks to omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C and immune system – promoting ingredients.
As we tested
Credit: Verified / Monica Petrucci
Kencko offers a wide variety of smoothie flavors to suit every craving.
I ordered a mixed pack of Kencko smoothie flavors to get a feel for the wide variety on offer. I tested all the flavors by shaking them in the Kencko branded bottle (which has a patented filter for optimal mixing and de-clumping).
I’ve decided to mix each packet with milk or water depending on my taste (each gives a recommendation to use water, milk, or your choice).
What we like about Kencko smoothies
Credit: Verified / Monica Petrucci
A Kencko smoothie took seconds to prepare – and required no cleaning.
They make eating easy
Kencko’s smoothies may be the easiest way to add more organic fruits and vegetables into your diet – with almost no effort.
Similar easy-to-make healthy products we’ve tried, such as a subscription to Daily Harvest, still require a separate blender, plus the time it takes to clean it (and any accompanying jars or mugs).
Kencko’s smoothie subscription comes with a branded dishwasher-safe bottle, meaning all you need to make your breakfast is that bottle, a Kencko compostable smoothie pack, and your choice of water or milk. When you’re done, simply toss the bottle into the top rack of your dishwasher – no scrubbing required.
And with these smoothies, you don’t have to worry about a varied diet either. Kencko’s offer includes a wide range of fruits and vegetables – from typical apples and berries to not-so-typical red dragon fruit and green peas. This way, you can make sure you’re getting a variety of vitamins and minerals — even from foods you might not think you’re putting in your grocery cart.
Plus, with a helpful QR code on each individual pack, you can delve deeper into the nutritional benefits behind each smoothie and find out what health benefits you’re getting with every sip.
The packaging is environmentally friendly
As with any grocery delivery service, third party packaging can be a major detriment to environmentally conscious consumers.
Fortunately, Kencko took this into account when designing its brand. All packaging – including individual smoothie packets – is fully compostable, eliminating plastic going to landfill. The brand is also committed to carbon neutral shipping, meaning all freight emissions used to ship their products are offset.
And since the smoothie packets are made from a plant-based film, you can toss them in your compost along with all your other fruit and veg waste.
A subscription includes free nutrition coaching
Kencko subscribers can choose to use the expert knowledge of nutritionists to make lasting changes to their diet.
Kencko aims to make healthy eating habits easily accessible to everyone.
In addition to the effortless smoothies that will get you hitting your five-a-day in no time, a Kencko subscription also includes access to a 60-day coaching program with a nutritionist.
The program begins with a face-to-face consultation by phone or video call with one of the staff to discuss goals and a personalized approach. Subscribers then have access to an additional four consultations, personalized recipe suggestions, and unlimited virtual support.
What we don’t like
Credit: Verified / Monica Petrucci
The taste and texture of Kencko smoothies often fell short of expectations.
Taste doesn’t always deliver
Unfortunately, taste is not synonymous with function.
I’m a huge smoothie lover, so I was initially skeptical about the idea of making them with powdered fruits and veggies – without a blender. Still, I was optimistic about consuming my favorite breakfast with a fraction of the usual effort.
But I was disappointed. These drinks might be packed with organic plants and brimming with nutritional benefits, but they taste almost nothing like fresh smoothies. Many of the flavor profiles were pretty bland.
Labels with ingredients like pineapple, mango, and berries got me excited to enjoy bright and tangy flavors, but each time I’ve been treated to bland, watery drinks that often leave clumps of powder in my mouth.
The recommendation to shake each batch for 10-15 seconds is far from enough to dissolve the packets of powder. Most of the time, after a few minutes, the powder would sink to the bottom of the bottle and seep through the bottle’s “filter,” leaving an uncomfortable residue in my mouth.
Mixing the packets with milk proved slightly better, delivering a more smoothie-like consistency, but the downsides of lack of flavor and clumps of powder were still an issue.
However, some flavors were definitely better than others (I drank a lot more of the berry-based “Purples” than the veggie “Ultra Greens”).
Should You Subscribe to Kencko?
They may not taste like fresh smoothies, but Kencko packets offer a quick, convenient, and accessible way to stay healthy.
Yes, if you’re serious about nutrition (and short on time)
Let me start with this: If tasty smoothies are your top priority, Kencko’s probably won’t scratch your itch. For that, we recommend putting in a little extra work (upfront!) with our money-saving smoothie hack, or investing in a Daily Harvest subscription.
But if you’re more concerned with having low-maintenance, highly nutritious drinks in seconds, Kencko is a great option. It makes it a no-brainer to have a wide variety of fruits and vegetables — and therefore a wide variety of vitamins and minerals — in your diet. Cleaning is easy, there is no preparation and the peace of mind of a low carbon footprint is priceless. (And pro tip: If you’re looking for a tastier smoothie, try using a sweetened almond milk or fruit juice base instead of water.)
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Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.