Arbib told BeverageDaily.com the children’s beverage category has proved to be the ideal launch pad for her company, which is now developing snacks around her philosophy of making healthy food accessible and fun.
Why start with a children’s drink?
Rebel Kitchen launched its coconut milk children’s drinks in January this year, followed by an adult range in June.
It already has listings with Waitrose and Ocado for its 200ml children’s drinks, and is now introducing a 180ml kids' lunchbox pack format in 428 Tesco stores this week.
“I have a whole two page list of what I’d like to bring out in drinks and snacks,” Arbib said.
“We launched with the children’s drink. We thought that in the children’s sector there weren’t an awful lot of healthy drinks.
“People said: 'That’s very difficult, why launch a children’s drink then go into adults? It’s the other way round.'
“And I said: 'That’s why I’m doing it this way!”
“It’s one of the best decisions we made as a brand. Buyers opened doors to us a lot more than ‘just another adult drink.’
Breaking into Tesco
Rebel Kitchen’s kids’ range consists of banana mylk, chocolate mylk and orange choco mylk. The 330ml adult drinks range has flavours orientated to different tastes: matcha green tea, chai and chocolate. The range for Tesco comes in choco mylk and banana mylk.
As part of the company’s 'mission to ensure everything we're stuffing in to our mouths is fresh and good for us', the products are sweetened with date nectar, are free from additives and preservatives, and are lactose-free.
Arbib explains the story with Tesco starts back in May, when she was asked to present at the Zenith International and British Soft Drinks Association’s (BSDA's) UK Soft Drinks Industry Conference in London. Tesco was on the panel, and that gave Rebel Kitchen an opportunity to reach out to the buying team.
“Getting on the shelf at Tesco is by no means the end of the story,” she said. “It’s the beginning. We have an incredible platform to show the benefits of healthy eating. My dream is to enable individuals to have a delicious product and engaging brand to excite them about health food.
“We need to give more options and do it in a really positive way – there’s so much scaremongering about what you should and shouldn’t eat. We need to say: 'This can be fun and delicious!”
Classics, law… and the beverage business
Arbib majored in classics, did a law conversion course, then took time out to become a mother. The progression to beverage entrepreneur might seem a strange one, but she says it’s all linked by a passion for healthy eating.
Along with her husband Ben, she had previously launched the A Team Foundation, an organisation focusing on food and food-related health.
“I’ve been on my own personal health food journey for a long time," she said. "My mum instilled these incredible food values, cooking from scratch, those sorts of things. Food and nutrition really became my passion, so we set up the charitable foundation.
“This is my first foray into business. This dream of Rebel Kitchen started over a year ago when my husband and I said if we’re really trying to effect change, we’ve got to approach this from a commercial perspective - this is what the world understands.
“Much as you can do on the charitable side, we need to show the commercial world not only can you be a brand that can focus on bottom lines and commercial success, and you also going to be an ethical business that doesn’t harm people by harming health.”