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Kencko, Too Good to be True?

Posted in Reviews

For transparency, this review is completely unsponsored and unaffiliated with Kencko. But, if they wanted to sponsor me, this is one brand I’d happily partner with. That said, every Kencko member gets a referral link. If you use mine, you get $20 off your first box, and I get $20 off my next order. Neat, right?

A few months ago, I got inundated with Kencko ads that made me curious. After all, I don’t eat enough fruits and veggies. But it seemed too good to be true — easy, tasty fruits and veggies. After getting hounded with enough ads — that seem to have completely disappeared now — I decided to give Kencko a try.

So, what is Kencko? They describe themselves as, “Nutritious, delicious smoothies, meals, and treats that make healthy habits easy.” According to their site, “[They] transform fresh, organic fruits and vegetables into handy powdered smoothies. Shake one up with water or your favorite plant milk for an instant healthy boost. Each smoothie contains all the fiber and vitamins from 2.5 cups of fresh produce.” They have gumdrops, instant-meal bowls, and smoothies — what I purchased. It’s a customizable subscription service with several box sizes available.


I’m going to pause for just a moment to answer a question that may come up: why didn’t I use my own photos for this post. Simply put, Kencko has really pretty photos, and they’re true to life. Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see a photo of my second box just to prove it’s real. A secondary reason, however, is that work and life have been very busy recently, and borrowing Kencko’s photos saves me time.


About Kencko

While I was looking up information for this post, I came across a couple of cool points about Kencko that I think some of you may be interested in.

Sustainability

Kencko is highly focused on sustainability. An entire section of their blog is dedicated to it. Some highlights include:

Certified B Corporation®

Kencko is also nearing their second anniversary as a Certified B Corporation®. B Lab, per their website, “is the nonprofit network transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet.”

Kencko explains that the B Corp community, “works toward reduced inequality, lower levels of poverty, a healthier environment, stronger communities, and the creation of more high-quality jobs with dignity and purpose.”

While I haven’t had a chance yet to do major research into B Lab and the B Corp community, it certainly sounds great, and a cursory Google search didn’t turn up any major red flags.

My Initial Order

The total cost of Kencko’s smallest box surprised me — $60 for 20 smoothies — but, on further reflection, the individual price isn’t bad. After all, I pay more for Starbucks. And if you order more at once, you can knock the price down to as low as $2.59 per smoothies.

I customized my box to include one of every flavor they had available that day — except Greens, because it has kiwi and I’m allergic, and Spicy Tomato because smoothies shouldn’t be spicy.

I got a lovely surprise when an offer for a free shaker bottle popped up at check out. I accepted because, well, why not?

When my order shipped, I got another surprise. The shipment originated in Portugal. Rather unexpected. But, it was quick shipping and reasonably priced — either inexpensive or free, I can’t remember.

I got another pleasant surprise when my shipment arrived. Everything was well packaged, just like this reel on Instagram. The bottle is excellent — well-made and can go in the dishwasher! It can also be easily repurposed if you decide the smoothies aren’t for you.

I borrowed this photo from Kencko’s shaker bottle page.

The individual smoothie packets are pretty to look at. I didn’t think to take a photo before I started consuming them. But, I did find this pretty photo on Kencko’s Instagram feed.

full box of kencko smoothies

Smoothie??

You may be thinking, like I did, that these are clearly juices, not smoothies. Well, according to Kencko, that’s wrong. Rather than try to paraphrase their words, I’m including some snippets of their blog post, Smoothies vs juicing – which is better for you? below.

Both smoothies and juices contain lots of nutrients from fresh fruit and veggies, assuming that when we talk about juices and smoothies, we’re talking about ones derived from fresh and real ingredients… The main difference between juicing and smoothies is the production. To make a smoothie, you blend all the whole ingredients together… Juicing is a little different. When you press juice, it removes the fibrous material so that only a liquid is left… So the primary difference between smoothies and juices is their fiber content.

Kencko, Smoothies vs juicing – which is better for you?

Flavor Information and Mini Reviews

For the most part, I enjoyed the smoothies. I found that they were better with 8 oz of liquid, instead of the 10–12 oz Kencko suggests. They are also a bit nicer when cold, as opposed to room temperature, but both are a matter of preference.

These also need rehydration time. Kencko suggests about a minute, but, considering the taste improves over the course of drinking, you may want to allow for as much as 20 minutes, if possible. Interestingly, the rehydration time is not necessary when you mix the smoothies in a blender instead of shaking. Granted, I haven’t tried blending just the mix and liquid, I pop them in the blender to add fruit.

The reviews below are in alphabetical order. The ingredients, benefits, mixing suggestions, and customization suggestions come from Kencko’s website.

Beet Reds

Ingredients: apple, strawberry, beetroot, banana, raspberry, carrot, cranberry, lucuma
Benefits: Nitrates for blood flow, Anti-inflammatory antioxidants, Gut-friendly fiber
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12 oz of chilled water/any milk
Customization Suggestion: Drink pre-workout with chilled water or post-workout with cashew milk.

Review: Even with just water, this one is delicious.
Score: 5/5

Blushes

Ingredients: mango, papaya, strawberry, passionfruit, orange, lucuma, carrot, beet, apple, cayenne pepper
Benefits: Vitamin A for eye health + immunity, Gut-friendly fiber, Vitamin C for collagen production
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz chilled water
Customization Suggestion: Sprinkle on fruit salad to spice up a classic snack.

Review: When ordering this one, I didn’t realize it has cayenne pepper. I don’t think drinks — especially cold drinks — should be spicy. But, in the second or so before the spice hits, the taste is actually pretty good. I just couldn’t handle consuming a spicy smoothie. Ick.
Score: 0/5; 4/5 for taste without spice

Corals

Ingredients: beetroot, apple, carrot, orange, mango, ginger
Benefits: Nitrates for blood flow, Folate for fatigue, Antioxidants for heart health
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz of chilled water
Customization Suggestion: Add a dash of apple or cranberry juice

Review: This one is pretty good. I found it was better with honey powder. I used about 3/4 tsp, but I’m guessing anywhere from 1/2 – 1 tsp would be good, depending on your preferences.
Score: 4/5

Crimsons

Ingredients: açai, banana, strawberry, apple, mango, cinnamon, chia seeds
Benefits: Antioxidants for cognitive function, Vitamin C for healthy cells, Gut-friendly fiber
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz of chilled water/any milk
Customization Suggestion: Simply delicious in plain yogurt, overnight oats, or smoothie bowls

Review: I tried this one first with just water. It was OK; yummy, but it tasted a bit watered down. But the second time I had it, I blended it with a ripe banana and it was delicious!
Score: 3.5/5; 5/5 with banana

Golds

Ingredients: cacao, banana, strawberry, pea protein, dates, baobab powder, flax seeds
Benefits: Protein to rebuild muscle, Polyphenols for gut support, B vits for energy
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz of any milk
Customization Suggestion: Blend with plant milk and a spoonful of nut butter for an extra protein boost.

Review: I tried this first with almond milk. It was good, but the almond was a bit overwhelming. Adding a banana with the almond milk the second try helped balance the flavors.
Score: 4/5 with almond milk; 5/5 with almond milk and banana

Mint Greens

Ingredients: apple, mango, banana, orange, cucumber, sweet potato, parsnip, spearmint, wheatgrass, ginger
Benefits: Spearmint for focused attention, Antioxidants for cognitive function, Vit C for healthy cells
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12 oz of chilled water
Customization Suggestion: For max refreshment, infuse your water with fresh mint and cucumber first.

Review: Because of Kencko’s customization suggestion, I blended this one with English cucumber and water. Very yummy.
Score: 5/5 with cucumber

Mochas

Ingredients: coffee, cacao beans, maqui berries, dates, strawberry, shiitake mushroom, chaga mushroom, baobab powder, cinnamon
Benefits: Natural caffeine to fight fatigue, Antioxidants for cognitive function, Polyphenols for gut support, Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12 oz of any milk
Customization Suggestion: Blend with oat milk and ice for a fruity frappuccino

Review: I wanted to love this one. But, one of the ingredients tastes odd to me — almost sour. I’m going to guess it’s either the maqui berries, chaga mushroom, or baobab powder, because I’ve never had those before.
Score: 3/5

Peaches

Ingredients: peach, carrot, rhubarb, strawberry, sweet potato, coconut water, baobab powder, flax seeds, apple
Benefits: Vit A for eyes + immunity, Vit C for skin + immunity, Electrolytes for fluid balance
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12 oz of chilled water or any milk
Customization Suggestion: Swirl into plain yogurt, layer with chopped fresh fruits and granola for a peachy breakfast parfait.

Review: This one is pretty good, but I find it needs even less water than my typically, already reduced amount. The flavors just don’t have the same punch as the other smoothies.
Score: 4/5

Purples

Ingredients: blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, cranberry, banana, strawberry, dates
Benefits: Inflammation-fighting anthocyanins, Polyphenols for gut health, Manganese for your metabolism
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz of chilled water/any milk
Customization Suggestion: Blend with plant milk, protein powder and ice for a super-thick berry shake

Review: I’ve only tried this one with water, but it’s pretty good.
Score: 4/5

Reds

Ingredients: strawberry, raspberry, banana, apple, dates, ginger, chia seeds
Benefits: Omega-3s for heart + skin, Gut-friendly fiber, Vit C for skin + immunity
Mixing Suggestions: Shake with 10-12oz of chilled water/any milk
Customization Suggestion: Extra thirst- quenching with a splash of cranberry or pomegranate juice.

Review: This one is heavy on the berries. But, when I added a gala apple on the second try, it both enhanced and balanced the flavors, and made the consistency more like what I would expect from a smoothie.
Score: 4.5/5; 5/5 with apple

Ultra Greens

Ingredients: apple, green peas, broccoli, sweet potato, alfalfa, kale, spinach, green spirulina, yellow beet, wheatgrass
Benefits: Fatigue-fighting iron, Protein to rebuild muscle, Vitamins A & C for immunity
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10oz chilled water
Customization Suggestion: Sweeten things up with some plant-based banana milk.

Review: This is what I was expecting them all to be like. Absolutely disgusting. It tasted like cold, watered down pea soup. I didn’t even manage to swallow the first taste. And I needed a chaser after. Do NOT recommend.
Score: -∞/5

Yellows

Ingredients: carrot, pineapple, banana, mango, cinnamon, apple
Benefits: Vit A for eyes + immunity, Vit B6 for energy, Vit C for skin + immunity
Mixing Suggestion: Shake with 10-12oz of chilled water/any milk
Customization Suggestion: Blend with coconut milk and ice for a squeaky-clean pina colada

Review: This one is absolutely delicious on its own. But, I tried adding a banana the second go-around for the heck of it. Still delicious.
Score: 5/5

Overall Thoughts

If we give the Ultra Greens a more realistic 0/5, the flavors in my first box averaged 3.75/5. And, if you drop the two zeros (as they are based on personal taste), you end up with 4.5/5. That’s pretty good.

I have to give Kencko credit for developing a fantastic product; I’ll be keeping my subscription for the foreseeable future. For my second box, I decided to try every flavor that I haven’t already except for the Spicy Tomato and the Greens (see above for my reasons). I don’t remember exactly which ones they are, but I’m really looking forward to trying them.

I also added a 4-pack of their gumdrops, and I’m hoping they’re as good as the smoothies. *fingers crossed*. I’ll make sure to write a second post about the new flavors and the gumdrops. I’m guessing they’ll be good.


Thanks for reading to the end, I hope you enjoyed my post. Have you tried Kencko? Has this post inspired you to do so? Let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you. And don’t forget, you can save $20 on your first order if you use my referral link.

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