“Through White Cub, we want to educate people about veganism, plant-based diets and conscious lifestyle. We’re also working on making plant-based foods more accessible to the masses in India, with a view to reduce carbon footprint” – Sonal, Vegan Activist & Founder-CEO of White Cub
About a decade ago, when Sonal was busy experimenting with ingredients to create dairy-free ice-creams, little did she know that her brand would soon become a favourite for vegans and ice-cream-lovers. What started as a thought, following her son’s inquiry about vegan ice-creams in India, prompted this vegan activist to turn into an entrepreneur and launch her own brand of ice-creams in 2013 – White Cub.
A lot of research went into bringing out the frozen desserts, besides feedback from Sonal’s friends, fellow vegans and health-conscious people. “Initially, we opened our own ice-cream parlour with minimal packaging and started delivering the products to our customers directly. Ingredient procurements, recipe trials, smaller machines and then bigger plant purchase – everything followed in the next one year,” recalled Sonal, in an interview with AYUVE.
Over the years, White Cub expanded its portfolio by not only offering delicious vegan ice-creams, but also producing other dairy alternatives like vegan butter, vegan curd (soy-coconut curd), fruit yogurt (berry), nuts and hazelnut-chocolate spread. In a nutshell, it has become a one-stop destination for the lactose intolerant and people, who look for dairy-free, healthy, plant-based dessert options.
Today, the brand offers more than 20 ice-cream flavours (available in 200ml, 500ml and 1 litre packs) in various categories including premium, exotic, sugar-free and popsicles. Of these, Banarasi Paan, Chocobar and Butterscotch are its bestsellers. “Soon, we’re planning to create dairy-free milk using an enzyme digestion process and a dairy-free mozzarella cheese using a rennet alternative. We’ll soon launch sprinkler parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and milk,” she revealed.
When inquired about the consumer base, Sonal said that they do have a loyal customer base. They have vegans, people following plant-based diet, looking for dairy-free alternatives – without compromising on their ethics, nutrition and taste. “We also have consumers who opt for our products due to their consciousness towards health, environment and animals. Their love and support have helped us grow and expand our product portfolio, over the years.”
With more people willing to try dairy alternatives, plant-based diets and sustainable products, the demand for vegan food in India is increasing by the day. “It was totally a different scenario when we entered the market. But today, consumers have more options to choose from. We are saving their day by satiating their taste buds and catering to their needs,” she added.
At a time when more brands are entering the conscious food segment, how is White Cub planning to sustain the competition? “Unlike other brands, which are mostly newcomers, we have been present in the market since 2013 – when veganism and plant-based diets were still relatively a new concept in India. We understand the Indian vegan market like no others. We are a D2C brand with an omni-channel presence across India. This is why we frequently come up with more dairy-free options and flavours to cater to the consumers’ tastes and needs,” Sonal quipped.
White Cub has an in-house R&D team consisting of food technologists. It also has an in-house manufacturing facility where they follow “industry standard procedures to make healthy dairy-free products”.
Right now, White Cub ice-cream is available at retail outlets in major cities like Delhi NCR, Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Gurugram and Coimbatore. The products can also be ordered on the brand’s own website or other e-commerce stores like Nature Basket and Big Basket.
“We’re also planning to expand our delivery operations in other metro cities like Bengaluru, Mumbai and Kolkata, besides opening retail outlets in tier-2 cities like Indore, Surat, Ahmedabad and Dehradun. I want White Cub to grow into a global brand for vegan ice-creams and dairy-free products. As part of it, we will soon raise the first round of capital funds from our investors and enter the global market,” Sonal informed.
For her, White Cub is more of a ‘conscious’ brand set up for ethical foodies. Through this, she wants to educate people about veganism, plant-based food and conscious lifestyle – since animal-derived food is unhealthy in long-term and also impacts the environment.
“Today, White Cub is associated with plant-based celebrities like nutritionist-food scientist Nidhi Mohan Kamal. We envision a planet where people, animals and nature co-exist harmoniously. We aim to create a future where eating healthy, plant-based foods becomes a norm in India; where animals are given the respect they deserve and not exploited for food. We’re also working on making plant-based foods accessible to the masses in India, with a view to reduce carbon footprint,” Sonal signed off.