Rebel Kitchen Founder: “A Lot of Confusion About What’s Healthy and What’s Not”

Tamara Arbib is an ambitious entrepreneur.

The founder of Rebel Kitchen, a U.K.-based brand of organic, coconut milk-based beverages, Arbib envisions her company as being a leader in plant-based nutrition as a way to “effect change in people’s health on a global scale.” Arbib is working fast to meet that goal: despite launching Rebel Kitchen just two years ago, the brand is already distributed on three continents.

“The plant-based revolution seems to be upon us and we want our brand to be at the forefront of the coconut part of this trend,” Arbib told BevNET. “This means playing a global game.”

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Launched in the U.K. in 2014, Rebel Kitchen made its U.S. debut in March, 2015; the brand is also distributed in Australia and New Zealand. Rebel Kitchen’s drinks, dubbed “coconut mylks,” are formulated with a base of water and coconut milk and sweetened with date nectar. Flavor varieties sold in the U.S. include Chocolate, Coffee and Chai, which is blended with cinnamon, turmeric and cardamom. Packaged in 11 oz. Tetra Pak cartons, they contain no preservatives, refined sugar or additives, something that Arbib sees as a critical point of difference from other dairy alternative brands on the market.

“There is a lot of confusion and miscommunication about what’s healthy and what’s not,” Arbib said. “We give people some much needed simplicity.”

Although Arbib describes coconut milk as nutrient-dense food source with metabolism boosting, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties, Rebel Kitchen does not identify itself as a functional drink brand. Instead, the company focuses first and foremost on promoting a set of ingredients that is easily understood and accessible by most consumers.

Picture00086-1“We tell people you can buy everything you need to make our products at home from the supermarket,” Arbib said.

Rebel Kitchen incorporates messaging about its ingredients and formulation as part of a marketing strategy that also promotes coconut milk as a sustainable source of nutrition. Airbib notes that while soy milk and almond milk products comprise the largest share of the market for dairy alternative beverages, growing “debates about both their environmental impact and the arguments around GMO” have propelled consumer interest in coconut milk.

Distributed in the U.S. by UNFI and KeHe, Rebel Kitchen mylks retail for $2.99 per 11 oz. Tetra Pak carton and are available at over 1,300 retail locations, including Whole Foods Market stores in the retailer’s Northern California region. Next month, Sprouts will begin carrying the brand in 200 of its stores.

As Rebel Kitchen’s distribution footprint continues to grow, Arbib is confident that the company is on the right path to impact global health, one sip of coconut milk at a time.

“More and more people are turning to a partial or wholly plant-based diet to improve their health and wellbeing,” she said. “We’re keen to increase share of market with coconut milk that’s produced the right way.”