KEHO changes snacking to eating. We swapped sugar and salts for spice. BOOM!
It is deceptively simple. It looks like a bar. It’s packaged like a bar. After eating one, you wonder why it didn’t already exist. After all, we have sweet snack bars, so why not savory? And why not a real food bar? It seems so obvious afterwards.
Its savory, not salty or sweet – like real food
Today’s ‘nutrition bars’ are choc chip this, or peanut butter that, or blueberry something, that has been nowhere near a berry. Most are held together with honey or eggs i.e., animal products, and not the good kind or the kind kind (as in humane). Current keto bars come in the same sweet flavors, and are full of fake fibers and sugar alcohols.
If you’re a savory person, there is even less. The savory snack category is stuck at chip (potato, corn, name your veggie flour) plus salt/flavor (BBQ, cheddar, name your flavor) served in a bag. Almost all are carb based. The few keto alternatives e.g., Parmesan crisps or jerky are animal based or “keto-friendly” but not keto. That leaves nuts, which get boring fast, or nut butters that leave nasty wrappers in your pocket!
Previous “savory” bars were not really savory, but sweet bars in disguise e.g., sweet chili, sweet BBQ, using sugar to hold them together; and as they reduced the sugar they tasted like cardboard. Newer bars lean on chickpeas or beans, which make them dry and dull. Who actually likes beans?
Our insight was that real food tastes good. So KEHO is made of real food. KEHO tastes good because real food tastes good.
It’s a bite not a bar, a bite of real food
So why don’t we call it a food bar? Well it was never meant to be a bar. The inspiration was a meal, not a food bar. It all started with a different question – looking at the same thing through a different lens. We started with ‘snacky’ hand held meals like pizza slices, triangle gimpap and nachos – we even thought the packaging would be triangular and novel!
But novel packaging is expensive. Expensive is not accessible. We thought about how we keep food fresh at home. We wrap it in foil. So we wrapped KEHO in foil. It’s a special foil, but it’s only as complicated as it needs to be. Similarly we landed on using existing bar machinery to minimize cost of production.
Not the same mush of ingredients
Yeah, our ingredient list is long. Long doesn’t mean bad. Long means it is not the same four ingredients flavored with fake stuff.
We use real spices and herbs. Not fake flavorings or colorings, whether natural or artificial. We also don’t hide known carcinogens or anything else behind ‘and other natural flavors’.
We are the first to have cauliflower in a bar, I guess that does make us a food bar ;) We also have spinach, and red peppers, and shallots. Oh and lots of capers, see, because we like to have fun = ) #dadjokes
Ever seen lemongrass in a bar, or tomatillo, or even cardemom? They are way to fancy to be found in a mere food bar. There is food, and then there is food. That’s what we’re trying to say when we say we’re not a food bar, we’re a bite of real food.
Not only can you pronounce your ingredients, but you can actually see them too. So you can say what you see.
Our ingredients are whole. We use peas, not pea protein. We use almonds, not almond flour. That’s coz food processing removes good stuff as well as bad stuff at each step. We will write more on this in another post, as this is a complex topic, e.g., washing is processing, so is cooking, but there are many steps after to get to ‘refined’ carbohydrates. And unfortunately when it says ‘almond flour’ you don’t know what went in and what those steps were!
KEHO is ‘slabbed’ not ‘extruded’. Slabbed means all the ingredients are put on a conveyor belt and squished together hard until they hold. Most food bars are extruded. That means are formed from super ground up ingredients of varying quality (typically the lower quality stuff coz the good stuff went to other uses where you woud see the imperfections), that are made into a mush and then shaped and cut.
There is a world of difference between processed food and packaged food. Again food is not all the same, so we’re not just a food bar. We’re a bite of real food!
Made like a meal – to complex rocking recipes
How did we choose our cuisines? Our different mini-meals come from the most popular plant-based dishes on Seamless. The spices were blended from an analysis and excel aggregation of the highest rated recipes online. Followed by refinement by chefs and fancy food critics. KEHO was carefully crafted at every step. Gourmet met geek.
They are constructed like a meal - the typical carb base of rice, pasta or tortilla is swapped for fiber, the protein is plant based, the veggies are dried and the 'special sauce' is yummy good fats with carefully curated custom spice blends. We are not copying any cuisine, we’re inspired by it – after all how many meals are keto today.
To give an example the tex mex moment has pepitas, the curry in a hurry has almonds and the pizza to go has pistachios, and the thai me over has peanuts – each a fit with their cusines. They also have macadamia and pecans, which are not found everywhere. The blend brings the BOOM!
KEHO has rich complex flavor taste. Sorry no PBJ here.
It’s not a meal replacement, it IS a mini meal. Well two are
So, before you eat, do you send a memo to your body saying – hey food incoming, or food bar incoming … this is a meal, or this is a snack? Duh, your body doesn’t know the difference. A snack is not replacing anything, it doesn’t get the VIP treatment bypassing the metabolism and excusing it’s poor nutrition.
Bars today are designed as a snacks between meals. They give you a sugar shock to jolt you back into action, or bomb you with salt to wake sleepy taste buds. They give you a poor mix of macro nutrients, typically loaded with carbs. Today’s ‘nutrition’ bars average 2.5 tsp of sugar!
The sugar and refined carbs fly through you system, leaving you with a crash and craving the next hit. Boom and bust, not sustained energy.
Real food is digested slower, especially if it has whole ingredients and fiber (if eating plant foods). It’s worth noting that our fiber is the prebiotic soluble kind that feeds gut bugs. It is also naturally sourced from a cassava root.
Despite KEHO having more fiber than most food bars, we can’t call it high fiber or a good source of fiber – because to make that claim the FDA also requires the product to be low fat. GRRRR. The FDA is fattist!!!
It doesn’t really matter tho. The fiber passes through. What remains are the nutrients. KEHO has half the nutrition of a salad! Two make up a salad.
Massively nutrient dense AND sustainable
KEHO bites are arguably the most nutrient dense snack. Freeze dried veggies retain almost all the nutrients (in fact improving antioxidant retention as they stop the degradation). They weigh 10x less than fresh veggies as the water has been removed. Water is the heaviest zero nutrient being needlessly shipped around the world. Fresh food being air shipped is one of the highest contributors to ‘food miles’ impact, and KEHO eliminates these.
Scoop on preservatives
Our main preservative is our packaging. The foil keeps it fresh. We also don’t add clear windows because our ingredients are preciuos, like wine, beer or olive oil which is in pizza to go, that come in brown bottles for a reason.
Oh btw, unlike many brands, we don’t say that we don’t have any preservatives. Duh, salt is a preservative and found on almost all labels. Our salt level is less than 200mg per serving for the record. This means it in line with the FDA guidelines for low sodium snacks, so good for everyone, including hypertensives.
We also add rosemary extract that is an antioxidant, yes spices are our natural antioxidant.
The one ingredient that maybe less familiar is sunflower lechitin which is an emulsifier. That means it holds water and fat together, like when you make mayonnaise. Many people take it as a supplement, so now you don’t have to. You’re welcome. Ours is the fancy kind that comes from a cold press process, the same way that olive oil does.
KEHO keeps keto, not just low carb
A ton of products are low carb or keto friendly. The typical threshold is 4-5g of net carbs. And yup, you can fit that into your macros to get a hit of sweet, but you don’t get the rest of the nutrition with it. So those end up being wasted carbs – “carbage” - coz that craving for sweet will return and now you’re actually hungry too. Double trouble.
KEHO is designed to be within keto macros of low net carb, moderate protein and high good fats. We aim for <10% net carbs, ~15% plant-protein and >75% good fats.
KEHO is a bite of real food
We flipped the script. It may look like a food bar, but it’s not a food bar, it is a bite, a bite of real food.
The result is not packaged food, but food, packaged. Ok, so maybe it is a food bar ;)