Kencko is a wellness brand that makes a variety of plant-based health food products, from smoothie packets to gumdrops to bowls. The brand describes their products as "the easy way" to eat more plants.
But do fruit and vegetable powders actually improve health as much as eating whole fruits and vegetables? Do Kencko products contain healthy ingredients? Do they contain any questionable additive ingredients? And how do real users rate the taste of their products?
In this article we’ll answer all of these questions and more as we review Kencko smoothies, analyze medical research on whether fruit and vegetable powders are actually healthy, and also review Kencko's bowls, gumdrops and green packaging. We'll share unsponsored user reviews of all of their products.
Kencko Smoothies Review
Kencko sells 30 different varieties of smoothies, and customers can mix-and-match their order. Their smoothies are entirely plant-based and free of questionable or unhealthy additives.
As an example, Kencko's “Ambers” smoothie contains the following ingredients: passion fruit, banana, dates, apple, baobab powder, yellow beetroot, chia seeds, turmeric.
We’ve reviewed every smoothie formulation currently offered by Kencko and we would recommend all of them from a health perspective.
One of the benefits of Kencko’s smoothies is they include nutrient-dense and exotic ingredients that many American consumers may not include in their diet, such as rhubarb, acai and maqui berries.
Rhubarb has been proven in medical studies to help regulate intestinal function and provide anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activity.
Acai has been shown in a clinical trial to normalize cholesterol levels due to its high polyphenol content. It’s also rich in Vitamin C.
Maqui berries have been shown to improve memory and decrease oxidative stress in an animal study, due to their high antioxidant content. More research is emerging annually about this fruit.
We believe it's beneficial to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables because increased dietary diversity is tied to optimal gut health, as documented by medical research. Eating a wider range of fruits and vegetables increases the number of phytonutrients your system is exposed to, which is a good thing, and which Kencko makes easy and convenient with their smoothies.
Interested consumers can check out Kencko smoothies at this link to the Smoothies page on their website.
One of the most popular YouTube reviews of Kencko smoothies is published by a channel called "ItsFiona" and is unsponsored:
Are Fruit And Veggie Powders Actually Healthy?
Consumers are often curious about whether fruit and veggie powders are actually healthy, and how they compare to whole produce consumption.
As we outlined in detail in our Balance of Nature reviews article, there is significant medical research proving that fruit and vegetable powders can improve health outcomes. Most of the research focuses on cardiovascular benefits and reduced mortality.
A medical review published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine concluded that fruit and vegetable concentrate supplementation “would result in the reduction of the burden of [cardiovascular diseases]”.
A 2022 meta-study found that higher fruit and vegetable intake was associated with lower mortality (which means a lower risk of dying over the study period), and there was no specification that consumption of whole fruits and veggies had more optimal results than consumption of other forms of fruits and veggies such as dried or powdered.
The only slight downside of Kencko Smoothies compared to consumption of whole produce in our opinion is that the smoothies are lower in fiber. Kencko smoothie packets contain around 3 grams (g) per serving of fiber, while the equivalent number of servings of whole fruits and veggies would contain more fiber. As an example, one medium apple contains around 4.4 g fiber according to the USDA.
Fruit and veggie powders (including those sold by Kencko) are healthy and can significantly improve the nutritional status of most consumers, but may be slightly less healthy than whole produce consumption.
We Tried Kencko Ourselves
As one of the authors of this article, I wanted to try Kencko myself to share my thoughts on the taste and overall product experience.
I got a box with almost every smoothie flavor and had one per day for a few weeks.
I liked the taste of almost every flavor. Yellows was my favorite flavor, because the pineapple and mango gives it the perfect blend of tanginess and sweetness.
The individual packets are easy to open with either your hands or scissors, and there's enough space in the packs that none falls on the floor or sink which is convenient.
The texture of the smoothies was slightly thick for my liking. I'd prefer if they were a bit smoother and blended a bit better, but I recognize that this is probably due to how much plant matter is really in each pack.
These products are extremely convenient for those who are busy and trying to follow a healthy lifestyle, and I really enjoyed not having to go out to buy groceries when all I was missing was a fruit or vegetable item to add to my meals.
I like the idea of having these Smoothies around as a "failsafe" incase there are no fruits and veggies in the house, or if you're traveling.
Overall, I rate Kencko Smoothies 9/10 and consider this brand the best combination of taste, healthiness and convenience that I've come across to date in an Illuminate Health review.
Kencko Gumdrops Review
Kencko sells a line of gummy sweets that they call Gumdrops. This product line is also entirely whole-foods based and free of questionable additives which is impressive for a gummy snack product.
Kencko Gumdrops are made from a blend of fruit purees, with rice flour and pectin as natural and non-toxic gelling and thickening agents.
This is an innovative formulation. Nearly every gummy product we’ve reviewed (even Goli’s popular ashwagandha gummies) contained added sugar which is harmful to human health when consumed in excess, and which we recommend avoiding.
Kencko Gumdrops are the first gummy sweet that we've recommended on Illuminate Health, and we consider this product to be a much healthier alternative to most commercial gummy snacks like Welch's Fruit Snacks (which as a reference, contains 11 g added sugar, artificial dye and artificial flavoring).
Interested consumers can check out Kencko Gumdrops at this link to the Gumdrops page on their website.
A popular YouTube creator named Peter von Panda reviewed Kencko Gumdrops:
Kencko Bowls Review
Kencko sells a variety of healthy soup bowls that are convenient because the only prep work required is to mix in hot water. Most of the bowls consist of one healthy carb, some produce and many spices.
As an example, the Speed Dhal bowl has a red lentil base with zucchini, sweet potato, and onion, and contains nearly 10 different spices such as coriander and fennel seeds.
Increasing the variety of spices and herbs used for cooking is a great way to improve dietary diversity and overall health.
All of the Kencko Bowls sold at the time of updating this article consist of 100% whole foods, and a wide variety of different types of produce, so we would recommend all of them from a health perspective.
Consumers should note that most of the bowls provide under 300 calories, so while they’re a nutritious option, they won’t replace a full meal.
Interested consumers can check out Kencko Bowls at this link to the Bowls page on their website.
A YouTube channel called "OH HAPPY MEI" published a video reviewing the taste and texture of all of Kencko's bowls:
Kencko products are shipped in biodegradable packaging. The shipping box and individual meal packets are made from cardboard, which is safe and easily recycled.
The brand also claims to have carbon-neutral shipping, which means they invest in environmentally-friendly projects such as reforestation to offset carbon emissions from their product shipping.
The only aspect that we wish Kencko would improve in regards to environmentalism is their reusable bottle for the smoothies. They sell a plastic bottle, and we’d prefer if this was silicone or stainless steel. Plastic, no matter what type, may be harmful to the environment and human health based on extensive scientific research. Containers made of plastic that hold liquid may cause plasticizing chemicals to leach into the drink.
We recommend that consumers using Kencko smoothies invest in a plastic-free shaker bottle rather than the bottle sold by the brand. Here's a stainless steel shaker bottle on Amazon.
Overall we commend Kencko for their environmentally-friendly business practices and they're far ahead of many wellness brands in this regard.