Universally loved, ice-cream is a simple dessert that satisfies the soul. And loaded with sugar, the cold dessert becomes a guilty indulgence, to partake in only rarely.
But what if you did not need to feel guilty before scooping out another helping? Wouldn’t it be a bonus if it did not compromise on taste while being rich in protein?
Get-A-Whey, founded in January 2019, is making the dream of healthy ice-creams a reality. The ice-cream brand traces its origins to a fateful day in 2018 when Jimmy Shah wanted to whip up a healthy alternative for her children.
Experiments in the Kitchen
“My brother Jash and I love desserts. But, we are also fitness freaks and very conscious of what we eat. The desserts available in the markets had high-fat content and a lot of refined sugar. Our mother is a great chef. This is why we asked her if she could make a healthy version of ice-cream,” says Pashmi Shah, Jimmy’s daughter.
After experiments in the kitchen, Jimmy founded the company with her kids Pashmi and Jash. Get-A-Whey ice-creams contain zero added sugar and contain an organic sweetener with zero calories.
Additionally, they contain whey protein, making it five times richer in protein than any conventional ice-cream.
“Fitness trainers and enthusiasts recommend whey. I did not like to consume it as it is. But, I would mix the powder with the ice-creams my mother made and gladly eat them. That is how the idea of mixing whey protein powder to the ice-cream first came about,” recalls 28-year-old Pashmi.
They add about 12 gm of whey protein isolate into 100 gm of ice-cream. Furthermore, the products are 100 per cent vegetarian and contain no artificial colours or flavours.
In the past year, Get-A-Whey has sold over 50,000 units of their products and launched eight flavours, two of which cater to the requirements of a Keto diet. Get-A-Whey also launched its website for e-retail last year.
They are currently present in over 100 retail stores in Mumbai and Pune, along with being sold on food aggregator platforms like Swiggy and Zomato in a few cities. They have catered to customers in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Surat, Nagpur, Ahmedabad, Chennai, and Delhi.
This year, the trio is expecting to earn a revenue of Rs 2.5 crore. In conversation with The Better India, the makers share their journey of founding a healthy ice-cream brand.
How it all began
The trio never thought that experiments in the kitchen would lead them to start a brand of healthy ice-creams, more so because they were settled in their respective careers.
Pashmi works as a marketing manager at Bestseller, a fashion retail company, while Jash was taking care of customer marketing at Future Group’s FMCG arm. Their mother, Jimmy, is a jewellery designer who works closely with the family-owned jewellery business.
After the trio realised that the recipes perfected at home had the potential to be scaled up as a business, they decided to build Get-A-Whey. Here, Pashmi handles the marketing, Jash looks at Business Development, and Jimmy takes care of operations, research, and development.
Although their company was launched in January 2019, for three months, the trio did thorough market research before scaling up operations. They started with the first batch which comprised the five flavours they had developed — Belgian chocolate, Salted Caramel, French Vanilla, Strawberry Banana, and Chocolate Brownie Fudge.
“We liked these flavours and wanted to see how others would respond to them. After three months, we found that customers loved them. We also found that a lot of health-conscious folks were following a Keto diet and wanted something that they could incorporate into their diets,” informs Pashmi.
After this, they launched two new flavours, Keto Belgian Chocolate and Keto Very Berry.
Healthy without compromising on taste
Currently, Get-A-Whey is working out of a factory unit in Goregaon, Mumbai. Every batch is supervised by Jimmy, who is assisted by four people. There are 13 other full-time employees.
These guilt-free ice-creams are a blessing for those who have dietary restrictions. Mumbai-based fashion designer Barkha Kabra loved desserts and ice-creams were a favourite. As a fitness enthusiast, she would indulge in sugar-free alternatives once a month when the cravings were too intense. She stumbled upon Get-A-Whey’s range of ice-creams last year and decided to try them as they did not contain any added sugars.
“The taste was amazing. Despite being free from refined sugars, these ice-creams are yummy. I enjoy the salted caramel, strawberry banana, and chocolate brownie fudge flavours. I can consume them stress-free,” smiles Barkha.
Nutritionists also have given Get-A-Whey’s ice-creams a stamp of approval.
Ashni Kothari is a Nutritionist with Nitrro, a leading fitness centre in Mumbai. The 29-year-old says, “Firstly, the product immediately caught my attention as it had whey, which is one of the best forms of protein. It is good for hair, nails, and of course, for building muscles. Finding it in a product like ice-cream can help one enjoy it guilt-free.”
She adds that unlike other ice-creams that contain full fat cream and refined sugars, this has none.
“They have opted for dark chocolate in their chocolate flavours, which is high in magnesium. When women experiencing PMS crave sweets, this is a great alternative as it does not have too many calories,” she says.
Challenges and moving forward
Despite being smart in their operations, the trio had their challenges.
“Since it is a healthy ice-cream, people have a preconceived notion that it won’t match up in terms of taste. Which is why we needed to ensure that the flavors are top-notch,” states Pashmi.
Another challenge was figuring out how to transport ice-creams that have been on-boarded in stores efficiently.
“Since ice-creams need to be transported by road, figuring out cold-storage logistics has been extremely difficult. Moreover, it is also very expensive,” informs Pashmi.
Regardless, she has a few words for other new business owners.
“Two things are important — taking the risk and understanding the customer. We started with a basic logo, but we believed and trusted in our products. People have great ideas, but not all have risk-taking abilities. Always remember that the consumer is the most important person, and your brand should connect with them. Your product should be self-explanatory and simple so that customers can relate to it,” she says.
Now, the trio is looking at expansion — introducing their products to other cities.
“Ice-cream is the most preferred dessert, and making it healthy is freeing it of all the guilt associated with it. We want to be a leading health-conscious brand driven by customers. We hope to be the first name to come to mind for anyone who wants to indulge without compromising on taste,” she says.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)