PODCAST: Kanguru energy drink creator Dr David Kitchen on juggling a full-time medical career alongside beverage entrepreneurship

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

In this episode of our Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Dr David Kitchen, CEO of better-for-you energy drink Kanguru.
In this episode of our Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Dr David Kitchen, CEO of better-for-you energy drink Kanguru.

Related tags Podcast F&B Trailblazers

In this episode of our Food and Beverage Trailblazers podcast, we speak to Dr David Kitchen, CEO of better-for-you energy drink Kanguru about his experience juggling both a full-time medical career as an ophthalmologist alongside his beverage entrepreneurial venture.

Kanguru is known to stand apart from regular energy drinks due to its no-sugar, anti-crash, all-natural caffeine and botanical- and nutrient-rich formulation – a formulation which Dr Kitchen took four years to develop​. The firm has just expanded manufacturing and operations into South Korea where it intends to compete against traditional local tonic drinks​.

“Being a medical practitioner, I took a scientific, evidence-based approach looking at the ingredients of other energy drinks currently in the market – after doing some analysis of the evidence, I realised that I could create something better than these,”​ Dr Kitchen told FoodNavigator-Asia​.

“My main focus for this drink was the formulation and ingredients but a lot of these, such as Korean Red Ginseng, are really bitter and would not taste very good when included in high enough therapeutic amounts to actually confer any health benefits – so that was one of the most major hurdles, to formulate a product that tasted good whilst still being effective.

“In the current COVID-19 environment, Kanguru can help maintain health, immunity and energy levels due to the therapeutic amounts of ingredients it contains.”

Kanguru contains five major functional botanicals: Yerba Mate (375mg) for mood and focus, Guarana (340mg) for energy, Korean Red Ginseng (225mg) to boost immunity and fight fatigue, Schisandra (100mg) to promote focus, and Green Tea 50mg) for anti-inflammation.

Dr Kitchen added that although making the entry into the FMCG beverage industry required a fair bit of learning for him, he found that his medical training was helpful in terms of both formulating the product as well as boosting its ‘trustability’.

“When I first started, I didn’t understand retail, marketing, production or any of it – I started off thinking ‘oh I want to get the product into as many outlets as I can!’ but since then I’ve learned that you’re better off having a much smaller amount of outlets [carrying your product] and getting better velocity through these than the reverse,”​ he said.

“That said, I do think my medical background helped me with the formulation, with understanding the biochemical aspects and the like, and importantly it has also helped to give the product some degree of respect and authenticity – as it should.”

He also touched on the logistical difficulties of launching a new product in Australia, given the wide population spread across a vast geographical area.

“I am Australian, as is the brand Kanguru, but otherwise knowing what I know now, I would quite likely opt to launch a new product somewhere else first as it’s difficult to get the product to consumers in some locations solely due to the economical and logistical difficulties to do so,”​ he said.

Listen to the podcast above to find out more.

We’ll be shining the spotlight on Active Nutrition in our Growth Asia 2020 interactive broadcast series. Register for free here​.

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