Mumbai-based ‘Vegan Heart’ is the only brand in India to offer vegan ice-creams made from oat milk
A popular name with the ice-cream-lovers in Mumbai, Vegan Heart stood out amongst its competitors for using dates as natural sweetener, instead of sugar. Launched in February 2018, the brand was founded by mother-son duo Guncha Wadhwa and Kapil Wadhwa of Vegan Heart Ventures.
Guncha did MA in Economics and Diploma in Management, while her son (25 now) did BA in Economics. They both handle everything at Vegan Heart – right from conceptualization, procuring raw ingredients, making ice-creams and packaging to delivery, retail marketing, consumer feedback and publicity.
So, how did it all begin? “Our family always had a sweet tooth and a special liking towards ice-creams. But there came a time when we realised how our food habits and choices affect animals. Since then, animal-cruelty became a ‘no-no’ for us,” explains Guncha, who is also the Head Chef at Vegan Heart Ice-creams.
As their awareness on veganism grew, the Wadhwas realised that plant-based ice-creams are a necessity in the market. All these factors prompted them to launch the brand, in a humble way initially.
“We started by selling our ice-creams at Juhu Farmers’ Market, organized by Sharan – an organization that promotes wholefoods and plant-based diets. Everyone loved them. And in no time, we started home-delivering customized orders. Soon, we realized that there’s huge market for vegan ice-creams and began stocking our products at various stores. The rest is history,” the 55-year-old recollects.
The Vegan Heart Ice-creams are free from dairy, gluten, preservatives and, of course, guilt! These are all made from coconut milk and coconut cream, which are considered the healthiest alternatives for dairy. “Our ice-creams are naturally sweetened with dates and don’t contain added preservatives or artificial flavors and colors. Our product is diabetic-friendly, too.”
At present, Vegan Heart is offering eleven 100% natural flavors including Mawa Malai, Strawberry, Cookies & Cream, Coffee Bean Cinnamon, Chikoo, Mango, etc. But, Belgian Chocolate has been its bestseller. The brand serves 6 flavors throughout the year, but adds new artisanal flavors to the menu as per season – to satiate those cravings. For example, customers love to binge on thandai and mango flavors during summers, and strawberry in winters. There’s also chikoo and custard apple.
Through Vegan Heart, the Wadhwas advocate vegan diet as the best option for one’s health; for, it provides wholesome foods that are great for gut, nourishing, lesser in cholesterol, induce weight loss, etc. “Our ice-creams are no exception to this, without compromising on taste. This is exactly why we have vegans, vegan-curious individuals and non-vegans as our customers,” she explains.
Since the pandemic, the demand for vegan foods and brands has doubled. And to have that competitive edge, it has become imperative for the manufacturers to bring in some uniqueness and novelty to their products.
“Vegan Heart never lags behind on that front. In fact, we are currently the only brand in India that offers vegan ice-creams made from oat milk. We’re serving an acute differentiator by making our product wholesome, flavorsome and supremely healthy,” Guncha is all smiles.
The brand recently ventured into retail business and managed to do well at shops like Sharan Organic Store, Society stores, Farmers Stores, Rare Earth Cafe, Roman General Stores and Grrovers Supermart (Mumbai), Nature's Soul in Delhi, etc. It also made its way into online retailing through Vvegano, Greend and other websites.
These 100% natural artisanal ice-creams can be ordered on Zomato or Vegan Heart’s website. They are available in 120ml and 480ml packs in Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Goa and Chennai. They come with a shelf life of 90 days from the manufacturing date.
Meanwhile, the Wadhwas have plans to expand into more cities in India. “But, for now, we’re focusing on gaining a stronger foothold in Mumbai and channelizing our energies into forming a better e-commerce ecosystem,” Guncha sums it up.