Food Heroes: Tamara Arbib, Rebel Kitchen
Yumbles seller Tamara Arbib is a woman on a mission. Barely a year since launching her unique wholefood brand Rebel Kitchen, her innovative range of dairy-free milks is introducing a whole new crowd to the idea of healthy eating. Read on to find out more about Tamara’s exciting indie food adventure…
How and when did Rebel Kitchen get started?
Rebel Kitchen Tamara and BenThe company started just over a year ago. Our products first hit the shelves in January this year, so we’re still fairly new and it’s all very exciting. Before starting Rebel Kitchen, I’d been involved in charitable projects and initiatives relating to nutrition and food-related health for many years – it’s always been a massive passion of mine. My husband Ben and I started a charity called The A Team Foundation in 1999 to encourage a better understanding of the links between our food, where it comes from, and health.
We were involved in lots of different projects with organisations such as the Slow Food movement and Soil Association, but as time went on I felt we were missing a commercial piece of the puzzle. If you look around at the world today, it’s the big brands that have all the power and money. So we decided to create a really kick-ass, commercially viable brand that brings joy and light to the world of business. An ethical company that would show everyone it’s possible to build a really great business, but without killing anyone in the process!
We wanted to bring out a range of products that would be financially viable and make sense as a business, but that could have a positive impact with every interaction. And that’s how our unique range of dairy-free mylks came to be. I didn’t have any experience of launching a food brand or working in that kind of business environment. Before starting Rebel Kitchen I was a full-time mum of three! So everything was brand new. I literally had to learn how to do everything step by step, and had no clue when I started just how much was involved or how challenging it would be. Looking back that’s probably a good thing! But it’s my passion – I really couldn’t think of doing anything else.
What makes Rebel Kitchen products so special?
Our coconut milk drinks for grown-ups and kids are all totally natural, made with absolutely no refined sugar or any artificial ingredients whatsoever. Our range is healthy, but fun and incredibly tasty too! It was really important to me to build a brand that’s engaging and accessible. I really wanted to grab people with the brand – not to create yet another boring health food product. So we spent a long time developing the name, the packaging, the visuals…. We get a lot of great feedback so it was definitely worth it.
What have your proudest moments been since starting Rebel Kitchen?
There have been so many. I was a full time mum before starting Rebel Kitchen so it’s been a big change for my family, but they’ve been so completely supportive. My children see how happy I am and how important this is to me – they’re big ambassadors for Rebel Kitchen and that makes me really proud.
On the business side of things – just six months after starting we had the news that Waitrose were going to start stocking Rebel Kitchen, and we’re about to start selling in Tesco too. Our intention was never to be a niche, artisan brand. There’s nothing at all wrong with that, but we’re really keen on being mass market and touching as many people as we can – whether that’s via a supermarket or curated online marketplace like Yumbles. We want Rebel Kitchen to be the way people start to learn about nutrition and the connection between food and health. Anytime someone picks up a Rebel Kitchen instead of a Coke or Fruit Shoot – that’s a win for us!
What’s next for Rebel Kitchen?
This is just the start and we’ve got ambitions to do so much more. We’ve got exciting plans up our sleeve, but you’ll have to wait and see!
Finally – what’s your food heaven and food hell?
Food heaven for me is any REAL food from the ground, that’s simply prepared. Food hell is anything processed. We’ve really lost that connection between food and nature through the process of industrialisation, which is why I’m so passionate about getting kids to grow stuff and see where food comes from.
mouth-watering to share?