Hitting the sweet spot with healthier ice creams
New age ice cream makers are wooing consumers with low calorie, sugar-free and vegan variants of their favourite summer treat
It’s interesting, perhaps, to note that the founders of two new low calorie and sugar-free ice cream brands in the Indian market – Habbit Wise Cream and The Brooklyn Creamery – have battled and overcome obesity. Dhruv Bhushan, founder and CEO of the New Delhi-based Habbit Health, which currently offers protein shakes and ice cream and is soon launching healthy snacks and beverages, once weighed over 170 kilos. “I was working out six days a week and eating home-cooked food but the best doctors, nutritionists and trainers couldn’t help me,” says the 35-year-old, adding, “I took it on as a challenge to figure out how health and nutrition work.” As he went on to lose 70 kilos over two years, Bhushan realised that lifestyle played a paramount role. In late 2019, Bhushan started developing their ice creams which he claims are the lowest calorie ice creams on the planet with 30-40 calories per 125 ml (regular ice creams usually have over 250 calories per serving). They were able to do this by reducing fat content to two per cent and substituting sugar with a special type of stevia (a natural plant-based sweetener) that doesn’t have a bitter aftertaste and zero calories.
The founders of the Mumbai-based Get-A-Whey ice cream brand, Pashmi Shah (29) and her brother Jash (25), point out that the ice cream market in India has clocked ₹20,000 crore in 2020. And while the per capita ice cream consumption in India is still low (400 ml as compared to 22,000 ml in the US according to a report by Smart Research Insights), there’s consensus among the new age ice cream makers that this market is waiting to explode. “Post covid, people are more health conscious and aware. They want to indulge but not at the cost of health,” says Shah. This is where small but premium brands like theirs come into play. Get-A-Whey uses whey protein isolate sourced from New Zealand, natural flavours and organic Erythritol (a plant-based sweetener with zero calories and sugars) to reduce calories and amp up protein content. “A lot of Indians are protein-deficient. While my brother Jash used to drink protein shakes, I couldn’t stomach them. My mother started making desserts using whey protein and that’s how the idea came about,” says Shah.