Kauai: 15 years of healthy fast food

Ever heard of healthy fast food? For years we have been slaves to the junk food industry, resulting in a rise in obesity and other lifestyle diseases. Luckily South Africans now have an alternative. Fifteen years ago Kauai came to the rescue, offering guilt-free fast foods crammed with nutrients and bursting with flavour.

Kauai was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1996 as the brainchild of three friends who had previously lived on the Hawaiian Garden Isle of Kauai. These three friends ran a bottled juice company while living in tents in a papaya field, but also shared a dream of opening a sandwich and smoothie shop. Their dream became a reality after a visit to South Africa.

“It all started in 1995 when my partners, brothers Carl and Brett Harwin, and I came to Cape Town for Carl’s wedding to a Capetonian, followed by holiday of surfing,” says Kauai director and avid surfer John Berry.

“After being here for a few days, we noticed that we couldn’t find the types of food - healthy juices, smoothies and so on - that we were used to back home. When we were hungry, all we could find were pizzas, burgers and fried chicken. We were surprised that nobody was providing a healthy, convenient food and drink offering in South Africa...the market was here but not the offering,” John recalls.

(Pic: Kauai director and avid surfer John Berry)

On the island of Kauai, Berry and the Harwin brothers’ juice factory bottled smoothies and juices made of delicious tropical fruits and fresh produce on the island. “Freshly squeezed juice makes such a difference to your body – it’s packed with live enzymes,” says John.

“It was then that the idea was born to combine my cheffing and food background with our juice and smoothie experience on the island, to come up with a retail concept,” he continues. 

“We wanted to share the unique warmth and Aloha spirit of the island and all its beauty and amazing flavours with the people of South Africa and beyond. We were driven to make the healthiest, freshest juices and smoothies to improve and inspire the lives of people.”

The retail concept was a runaway success story and today there are 95 Kauai stores around South Africa, with the 96th set to open in Port Elizabeth before the end of the month.

On 15 April 2011, Kauai is celebrating 15 years of healthy snacking - fast foods that are as nutritious as they are delicious.

Says John: “While you may often find Kauai stores close to other fast food outlets, in reality they are miles apart. Nothing but the freshest, tastiest ingredients is allowed to come through our doors. The Kauai vision is to educate South Africans about how good healthy and wholesome food can taste and to be the first choice of millions of quick service consumers.”

(Pic: Kauai ambassador Vanessa Haywood)

With the proof being in the smoothies and their tasty wholesomeness two South African beauties have made it their mission to become Kauai ambassadors and try to convert as many people as possible to the island food lifestyle. Models, sporting enthusiasts and actresses Roxy Louw and Vanessa Haywood are both living proof that a healthy lifestyle can only but leave you looking beautiful.

So, what are the girls’ favourite smoothies? “Oooh, there are so many!” says Vanessa, “If I have to choose, I’d say the Super Fruit Smoothie and the Peanut Butter Bomb.” The Super Fruit Smoothie is a super food blend of blueberry, strawberry, goji berries, pomegranate and frozen yoghurt, whereas the Peanut Butter Bomb is a yummy power shake of whey protein, chocolate, banana, peanut butter, fat-free milk and fat-free yoghurt.

And, does Roxy have a favourite? “Easy choice – it’s Super Green all the way!” The Super Green smoothie is a blend of pineapple, banana, apple and immune-boosting spirulina.

“At Kauai we believe that what you eat determines your quality of life and our ‘eat better, live better’ philosophy was the essence of the business 15 years ago and remains unchanged today,” says John.

As a global player in the quick service restaurant industry Kauai will continue its mission to convert more people from eating junk food to eating food that makes them feel better and tastes amazing. There are some big plans in the pipeline.

(Pic: Kauai ambassador Roxy Louw)

“Our plan for the next 15 years is for Kauai to become more convenient with drive-thru’s and other retail products – getting our goodness out there. We need to provide a solution to this cultural issue so that it’s possible for people to have the best of all worlds – health, convenience and yum!  Also, we’d like to share Kauai with the rest of the world so we definitely have aspirations to take the brand overseas.”

So, does John have a favourite smoothie? “It’s impossible to choose. I love all of them - they are like my children - which one could you love more?”

To celebrate Kauai’s 15th birthday, all 350ml smoothies will be selling for only R15 today (15 April), so make sure you get in store for your favourite smoothie. 

Treat yourself like royalty during the month of April by trying Kauai’s recipe for their Royal Hawaiian Smoothie at home:

Juice one whole pineapple in your juice extractor OR buy 1 litre of pineapple juice. Put 2 cups of strawberries, 2 bananas, 25ml of honey, 1 tablespoon of coconut shavings into the blender.  Add pineapple juice to almost cover the fruit. Add your choice of supplement (e.g. spirulina, whey protein etc) if you like. Blend until smooth.

- (Birgit Ottermann, Health24, April 2011)

Read more:

Fruit and veggies: superfoods
Top 10 super foods
Fruit and veggies: how much is 5-a-day?

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
28% - 9936 votes
72% - 25950 votes