These D2C brands led by women entrepreneurs are offering vegan options
The word 'vegan' is commonly bandied about these days, but it was coined way back in 1944 by Donald Watson and Dorothy Morgan.
The practice of abstaining from the use of animal products, particularly in diet, and an associated philosophy that rejects “the commodity status of animals” has become popular across the world these days. However, being vegan comes with a host of challenges, including grocery shopping, eating out, social situations, and more.
However, despite the lack of choices to sustain a vegan lifestyle, there has been a steady rise in the demand for more options.
In 2020, the vegan food market in India was pegged at Rs 15.4 billion. Meanwhile, the global vegan food market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 26 percent between 2022 and 2027.
With more people turning vegan, demand is likely to only grow and women-led startups have stepped in to bridge the gap.
If you are looking to beat the summer heat with ice cream, stick to a healthy skincare routine, or fancy some cookies or cake, these women-led businesses have got it covered with vegan options.
Gayatri Rattha and Shivanie Mirchandani knew almost all of their mother’s recipes were popular.
In 2016, the duo took her ice cream recipe and started vegan and plant-based ice cream brandwith six different flavours. Gayatri then went to Italy to learn how to make proper gelatos that helped incorporate additional offerings like Belgian Chocolate Cointreau, Hazelnut, and Green Tea Matcha.
Leveraging their mother’s existing network, the brand slowly took off from getting five to 10 orders per day to now fulfilling 150 daily orders. It now maintains a repeat purchase rate of about 80 percent and clocked Rs 3.31 crore in revenue last year.
The dairy and sugar-free ice-cream brand has also set up an in-house delivery channel with 25 delivery personnel across four cities and ensures same and next-day delivery in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, and Dehradun.
On every trip from the US to India, Goutham Uppaluri would get asked to bring different skincare products by friends and relatives. Goutham, who holds a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences, decided to start his own vegan skincare brandand set it apart by addressing the needs of the Gen Z and millennial population.
Along with co-founder Deepti Alapati, he launched Pulp in the second week of March 2020, one week before the first nationwide lockdown was imposed. However, Pulp used social media platforms to create a buzz and took off with just two products designed in ‘Instagrammable fashion’.
Priced between Rs 400 and Rs 1,200, the D2C startup offers 11 SKUs; all packaging is done from China. The entrepreneur duo is focused on building a community to ensure a "powerful source of brand advocacy" that builds trust, makes an emotional connection, and makes the brand more relatable.
Maharashtra-based foodtech startup – Kingdom of Good Food is allowing people to indulge in cookies – the world’s only sun-baked vegan and gluten-free cookies – free of guilt.
Founded in 2019 by Dr Minal Kabra and Vaibhav Dugar, the startup works with women in rural areas of Jalna, Maharashtra. They earn an average of Rs 15,000 per month to bake the cookies in specially designed solar ovens.
The founders claim that this not only creates a sustainable livelihood for workers but also helps reduce the consumer’s C02 footprint. Using solar energy prevents five grams of CO2 per cookie from being released into the atmosphere.
Priced between Rs 135 and Rs 580, the cookies are available in different flavours: Choco Oats, Rajgira Coconut, Cinnamon, Ginger Lemon, Coco Choco, and several combo packs.
Started with an initial investment of Rs 6 lakh, the vegan cookie startup saw sales of Rs 3 lakh in the first financial year, ended on March 2020.
Crave by Leena
A professional baker, Leena Mathai took a baking course at Tafe in Sydney, Australia, and worked as a cake decorating artist at the renowned Sydney Baking Institute, Planet Cakes, under Paris Cutler's guidance in 2011.
She switched to baking only vegan cakes after her son was born and she decided to raise him vegan.
In 2015, there were limited options to pamper her vegan son and this led her to start Crave by Leena, a vegan bakery that makes cakes and desserts with gluten and sugar-free ingredients.
Formally launched in mid-2019,started selling close to 100 items, with a revenue of Rs 50,000 per month, and catered to customers across Bengaluru through its website and app. The founder claims business grew 3X during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Edited by Teja Lele