Rebel Kitchen CEO Tamara Arbib insists she wants to make health food accessible and fun as the coconut milk-based beverage brand wins listings in major UK grocery chains including Waitrose and Ocado.
Rebel Kitchen launched an eye-catching range of dairy-free drinks or 'mylks' for kids (pictured) in the UK late last year and has since released a range for adults. Arbib, who also founded the London-based brand, tells BeverageDaily.com: “We want people to feel that health food can be accessible, not just from a price perspective, but also that it’s fun.”
The kids' 200ml range comes in Banana Mylk, Chocolate Mylk and Orange Chocolate Mylk flavors; the 300ml adult drinks comprise Chocolate Mylk, Matcha Green Tea Mylk and Chai Mylk. All use spring water from Somerset, coconut milk (11%) and are sweetened with date nectar, while most use cacao (2%).
“There’s so much messaging going round now – scaremongering about what you shouldn’t eat, how much of it,” Arbib says. “We want to be a positive voice saying, ‘eating healthily can be fun and playful – something that’s a pleasurable experience, from a taste perspective but also psychologically’.”
‘This is all chips in for us – our lifelong mission!’
Describing the brand and the investment behind it as “all chips in for us – our lifelong mission”, Arbib reveals that the brand has just secured new listings with Waitrose and Ocado.
“We need to expand our reach and brand awareness, stick to our marketing plan and schedule. But we’re not doing this Mickey Mouse style. We’re also in talks for Tesco, that all I can say for now!” she says.
'Get an eyeful of our badass products!'
Arbib recently presently at Zenith International and the British Soft Drinks Association’s (BSDA’s) UK Soft Drinks Conference in London, when the kids’ packaging in particular was admired for its edgy, fun branding.
Clearly this sense of slight rebellion – ‘Get an eyeful of our badass products!’ cries the Rebel Kitchen website – is in the brand’s DNA, and Arbib agrees that the kids’ characters also attract adults.
“We’re going to test out the whole range – three kids, three adults – this year. But if we see that the kids’ range is loved by adults too we could rework our packaging with our characters to reflect that.”
‘Refined sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever’
Rebel Kitchen counts itself as part of the whole foods movement, and hits out at processed food with too much sugar, salt, fat, additives and preservatives – the drinks contain no refined or added sugar, no stabilizing agents and no additional additives.
Although the range is relatively high in sugar (7.4g/100ml for its adult Chocolate Mylk, for instance) Arbib is keen to point out that the brand uses date nectar as a sweetener rather than refined sugar.
“Refined sugar has no nutritional value whatsoever, and is often hidden, which is dangerous. We’re using a natural sweetener in date nectar that provides the carbohydrates that you need to survive, but also fiber, trace minerals – it’s a good type of sugar,” she says.
Using a ‘good’ sugar and the brand’s health credentials generally could also help it crack the US in time, Arbib insists, given the obesity epidemic there and a health conscious audience in New York and California.
But in 2014 Rebel Kitchen’s key focus is on securing listings in UK major multiples and European sales, she says, adding that the brand is already in Germany and is talking to Scandinavian distributors.