Conversations about a better post-COVID ‘normal’ in SA

While restrictions have eased, COVID is still impacting our day-to-day lives, and some of the most important conversations that are happening at this time are around the urge to ‘go back to normal’. When it comes to food, health and the resilience of our immune systems our ‘normal’ was not exactly good for us, though. Nutrition-related health problems such as hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes, as well as obesity, have, across the world, seriously undermined many people’s defences to COVID-19, and South Africa is no exception. There’s a healthy argument that we shouldn’t be going back to a ‘normal’ that includes the poor dietary choices that exacerbate these health conditions.



Picking up on the idea of rebuilding a new, healthier normal is Africa’s leading health food restaurant chain, KAUAI, which has rolled out the conversation-starter campaign, ‘Don’t go back to abnormal’. “Our sales data is showing us that South Africans are thinking more about what it means to support their immune systems, and taking action,” says Dean Kowarski, KAUAI CEO. KAUAI’s menu includes immune-supporting shots, juices and smoothies, freshly made from scratch in stores. Kowarksi reports, “In comparison to last year, we have seen a 25% increase in sales of Ginger Shots, a 50% increase in sales of our famous fresh citrusy Floo Juice and four times the sales of our Vitamin See Smoothie. While all healthy eating helps to support immune function, these are all products that are high in Vitamin C and specifically formulated for intentionally boosting your health through immune system resilience.”


Setting up its ‘Don’t go back to abnormal’ billboards in the midst of the country’s fast-food valleys, KAUAI is provoking thought around the ways that we have normalised things that we know deep down aren’t serving us. The campaign also has a growing social media presence, where popular influencers such as actor, Siv Ngesi; The Good Things Guy, Brent Lindeque; entertainer, Nadia Jaftha; radio host, Devdondidit; and comedian, Lasizwe Dambuza have used their own platforms to call out the ‘abnormal’ and engage their followers in conversations about a better normal. Amongst burning issues like gender-based violence, poverty and corruption, South Africans are now also talking about changing the prevalence of poor mental and physical health in our country.


Says Dean Kowarski, KAUAI CEO, "If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we’re living in a world where our health cannot be taken for granted. Unfortunately, junk food laden with sugar and trans-fats, preservatives and additives has become a lifestyle standard for many, and tragically, an aspiration for millions more. KAUAI is calling this out as abnormal. For us, healthy eating is normal - enjoying fresh, natural, delicious whole foods with fruit and veggies that support your immune system and improve your overall health.”


#DontGoBackToAbnormal is a platform for South Africans to start conversations that matter. It’s true that we are creatures of habit; but we can also pivot quickly when it comes to making new, better habits. What do you think is abnormal, and what do you want to change going forward?


Dean Kowarski, KAUAI CEO, chats about ‘Don’t go back to abnormal’: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjVkJsgyT2k