A Portuguese start up, created to encourage people to consume vegetables and fruits through powered sachets has announced it has received an investment of €3 million.

The money gained will be used to finance the conversion of the sachets containing the milkshakes into a recyclable product, Ricardo Vice Santos, co-founder and business director of start up Kencko, which he co-created with Tomas Froes, told Lusa.

“We didn’t want to create plastic and since we have received this investment we want to invest in compostable packaging,” he explained.
Santos follows a vegan diet and has said that sustainability is his passion and that the company is willing to pay to produce sachets which will be made of cellulose material.

The company was built in 2018 and its headquarters is in New York, but their main office is located in Lisbon where they have a team consisting of 20 members.

Kencko uses a method similar to the technology that allows NASA to send food into space, freezing and dehydrating vegetables and fruit without the loss of nutrients or need for additive flavours including five or six ingredients, such as “Coral” which has beetroot, apples, carrots, oranges, mangos and ginger, and the consumer can add water or milk.

“Our mission is to help people to have better nutrition,” said Santos, who was also responsible for the international expansion of Spotify between 2011 and 2014 and afterwards founded Roger Talk in the United States.

The Kencko business model is based on online subscriptions, with the idea being to deliver 20 sachets every four weeks for $60, the consumer can choose another periodicity and the first box includes a reusable bottle to drink your milkshake from.

Ricardo Vice Santos has said that the company has received thousands of subscriptions even before they attempted to promote and advertise the product and the brand.

The fruits and vegetables come from all over the world, the packaging is done in Germany, the carton boxes are made in Portugal and then they are sent to the US.

Mr Santos has stated that California and New York are very interesting markets but not the only ones where the company’s proposal can be successful. “There are other, more counterintuitive markets where we’ve noticed a lot of interest, with a low acquisition cost because there are fewer deals like this.”

The idea for Kencko sachets came when co-founder Tomas Froes was diagnosed with acute gastritis and found that a diet based on fruits and vegetables allowed the nutrients to be replaced. The need for a convenient solution to consume the daily dose of fruits and vegetables led to the idea of healthy powdered nutrition.