How Raghunandan, the son of a fruit vendor founded Natural Ice Creams
The all-time-favourite Natural Ice Creams, is the sweet baby of Mulky Raghunandan Srinivas Kamath. This Founder Director comes from a tiny village called Mulki in the Puttur taluka of Mangalore, Karnataka. Raghunandan’s father earned all of Rs 100 a month from leasing trees and selling fruit. Curry, coffee and jackfruit was all that Raghunandan’s mother could afford to feed her seven children. The children would routinely roam around bare-bodied. “In our village that implied one was yet to take a bath and put on fresh clothes,” Raghunandan, now 62, told The Weekend Leader.
Raghunandan along with the rest of the family moved to Mumbai when he was 15-years-old to start work alongside his brother, twenty years his senior, in an eatery. The family lived in a 12 by 12 foot room (kholi) in a chawl at Juhu Koliwada. Being the youngest, Raghunandan had to sleep under a cot.
In a report by The Telegraph, Raghunandan’s ice cream odyssey began about forty years ago with a simple question. “If ice cream can have fruit flavours, why can’t it have real fruits instead?” That thought led to Natural’s launch in 1984 in Mumbai with four staffers and 10 flavours like strawberry, mango and custard apple. Today, all Natural parlours serve 150 flavours ranging from litchi and mango to custard apples. Raghunandan says tender coconut and chikoo are the hotsellers. And every weekend a new flavour’s introduced. Some exotic fruits on the menu include jackfruit, muskmelon, papaya-pineapple and mulberry. Others like litchi, custard apple, guava and kala jamun are available during winter.
Raghunandan goes to great lengths to maintain quality and picks only the best ingredients for his ice creams and buys from the most trusted suppliers. Milk comes from Mumbai’s Noble Dairy and only pharma-grade sugar is used. As for the fruit, Kamath says: “Since my childhood, I’ve had great knowledge of fruit. I can identify the exact fruit that should be used for making pulp.”