Started in their mother’s kitchen, this sibling duo’s brand is making a mark with premium protein ice cream
Indians’ love for sweets is very known. According to a report by Smart Research Insights, the yearly consumption of ice cream in India is 400 millilitres per capita. For years, players like Amul, Mother Dairy, and Vadilal have been dominating the market, which is projected to reach Rs 18,786 crore by 2022 according to another report by Eurometer. However, within the ice cream industry, smaller players are emerging, catering to niche markets.
Get-A-Whey is a premium brand that focuses on manufacturing and selling protein ice creams. It is co-owned by siblings Jash and Pashmi Shah. Currently, it is present in Mumbai and Pune and the siblings plan to make inroads in other cities as well when the economic crisis around COVID-19 gets over.
An idea born out of the mother’s kitchen
Both Jash and Pashmi are MBA graduates.
Pashmi tells SMBStory that Jash, who is extremely fond of proteins, would buy different kinds of proteins whenever they went abroad. “He wanted to collect the best proteins from different countries.”
So when Jash and Pashmi demanded from their mother—Jimmy Shah—a healthy way of satiating their cravings, their mother mixed some whey protein in ice cream. And that is how the idea of Get-A-Whey ice creams was born.
Soon, this home recipe became a business opportunity that saw many takers. With a basic logo, an initial investment of Rs 10 lakh from family members, and a team size of three, the brand was launched in 2018 in Mumbai.
The initial period of running the business was dotted with all sorts of challenges.
Pashmi shares that hailing from a family of diamond merchants operating mainly in a traditional construct, it was difficult to explain to their parents (who wanted them to settle down with comfortable, high-paying jobs) that what they had was a viable business model.
But it was their mother’s experience in business and cooking that gave them some ease. The duo also decided to give the contract for the manufacturing of the ice creams instead of setting up a manufacturing unit of their own.
In addition to all these, it was and still remains a challenge to figure out the cold chain logistics required to transport ice creams.
A healthy ‘whey’ to satiate cravings
Jash says that people have a problem with consuming whey protein in their daily diet because of its taste but wouldn’t mind consuming it with ice cream. “We are focused on making ice creams that are rich in protein.”
Moreover, they say the Indian consumer market is such that when it comes to food and beverages, people demand instant gratification to the taste buds. So, to achieve the twin goals of making the ice creams healthy and delicious, the founders decided to locally source all ingredients. “Our milk is sourced from organic dairy farms across Maharashtra. We don’t use any sugar or refined ingredients. We also put raw whey protein while making the ice creams.”
The company also claims to use organic sweetener, Erythritol, in place of sugar.
The entire production of the ice cream takes place in a continuous freezer which makes ice cream without interruption. The mixture is first blended with all the ingredients and stabilisers. This combined mixture is then pasteurised and homogenised to ensure even distribution of the mix. Thereafter, the ice cream mix is aged overnight so that it cools down to a level wherein the protein gets enough time to hydrate. This mix is then frozen in a continuous freezer with slight air blown into the mix to give a softer texture. This mixture is then poured into Get-A-Whey tubs and kept in a storage freezer to get the final product ready.
The ice creams are sold in 125 ml and 520 ml tubs that cost between Rs 125 and Rs 425. The brand offers a total of eight flavours including Belgian Chocolate and Strawberry Banana, of which two flavours — Keto Belgian Chocolate and Keto Very Berry — were rolled out for keto diet followers.
The siblings say the salted caramel flavour can be consumed by people who are diabetic or have borderline sugar.
Leaning of D2C and marketing
In today’s era, any business is incomplete without marketing. Pashmi says that the brand has created a decent reach on the pillars of marketing strategies and good quality of the product.
Jash says, “We have a consumer-centric strategy. Before coming up with new flavours, we sent google sheets to our customers and asked them to give their suggestions.”
Pashmi adds that influencer marketing on social media platforms has helped in creating awareness around the brand. “We sell through over 100 Category A stores in Mumbai, which include chains like Godrej Natures Basket, Noble Plus, FLAX Foods, Society Stores etc.”
The company also sells through Swiggy and Zomato across Mumbai in five locations.
“The vision is to be available across all premium stores and modern trade stores across the country (roughly 5,500 stores) and be available in at least 1,000 locations for easy delivery,” says Jash.
The duo claims that they managed to sell over 50,000 units across channels last year, and are projecting to hit revenues of Rs 2.5 crore this year.
The road ahead
The founders are not worried about competition with bigger players because they have positioned themselves as a niche brand for fitness lovers.
Moreover, COVID-19, which disrupted their retail operations, forced them to rethink and strengthen their digital strategies.
With retail also picking up as the economy opens up during Unlock 2.0, the brand is now focused on launching some new flavours and expanding across cities like Bengaluru, Hyderabad, and Delhi in the coming months.
Edited by Kanishk Singh