“As an instinct, we chefs always seek innovation”, says Akshay Bhagwat, “I wanted to bring something fresh and new”.
With unique, mouth-watering flavours, Eatally is changing the perception of ice creams and sorbets as we know it! From exotic lavender-honey ice cream to Madras filter coffee flavour, this D2C brand delivers a variety of frozen treats to their customers’ doorsteps.
In this week’s spotlight story, we bring you the brand story of Eatally, an artisanal ice cream business based in Pune. Learn how a food business became succeful by adopting the DTC model and going online.
Made with raw materials from both India and across the world, their innovative products have won hearts of ice cream lovers for being rich in flavour and completely natural in ingredients. The founder of Eatally Ice creams tells us his journey of creating a food brand loved by many, by blending science, art, and creativity.
Leaving a full-time job to build a food business online
Being a chef for two decades, Akshay has spent his early career in Europe and later in Pune. And though he was passionate about his career, he found his chef job at a restaurant monotonous. Cooking the same food everyday did not satisfy the creative chef in him.
“I wanted to do something different, create something that people will love. As an instinct, we chefs always want to innovate. That’s what motivated me to take the leap to bring something innovative”, Akshay says. “Manufacturing ice creams is a scientific process and it’s not easily replicated. During my stay in the UK, I have seen how high-quality ice creams are made. So I wanted to bring the same quality product here.”
Akshay quit his restaurant job to pursue his dream of bringing out innovation in food: becoming a food entrepreneur as an ice cream maker, with a vision to bring people high-quality artisanal ice creams.
Eatally ice creams are very niche products. It requires good craftsmanship to make quality ice creams with rich flavours. Customers can choose from more than 15 flavours, standing out from mass market products. After researching and experimenting for almost a year, Akshay was able to come up with a formula for delicious ice cream and sorbets.
Growing as an ice cream brand
When naming his brand, Akshay considered his initial teachers.
“I first learned the art of ice cream making from an Italian guy. Travelling to Italy in the summer, I came across different kinds of ice creams, which created a place in my heart for this dessert. So, I wanted to name the brand after the people I got inspired by. I played with the words ‘Italy’ and ‘eat’ and came up with the brand name ‘Eatally’.
Eatally products stand out from mass market ones in many ways. Most importantly, the vast array of flavours and combinations cannot be found anywhere else. From sweet thai coffee flavour to french vanilla caramel, and mango kulfi, every product is uniquely delicious!
Apart from this, Eatally products are made from pure cow milk, natural cane sugar, and home-made fruit purees. Mass manufactured ice creams only contain milk solids and artificial flavours. The raw materials for Eatally are sourced from trusted local places in and around Pune. Some of the flavours are imported from abroad—lavender extract is from France and lemon powder from Italy.
Embracing the D2C business model
Eatally initially started selling directly to outlets. But, the B2B model did not work for them. “We later realised that home-delivered goods are high in demand because of the pandemic. So we decided to launch our business as D2C”, says Akshay.
“Switching to D2C was the best decision we made. Our brand has grown well since then”.
Social media (Instagram and Facebook) was the main platform for selling. At first, they invested in paid ads to spread the word. After the first sales, customers gave them great feedback! It has been word-of-mouth ever since.
Instamojo’s eCommerce features and secure payments made the path to entrepreneurship much easier for Eatally.
“In September 2020, I joined Instamojo premium. It’s a very easy-to-use platform. All orders are collected through the Instamojo store. I’m glad that there’s an update almost every month to improve user experience further. Also, I don’t have to worry about my payments because it is safe and regular”
Challenges online food business face
Of course the road is not always sweet and colourful. Eatally had to face some challenges while coming up.
“The first challenge was to develop a perfect formulation for ice creams. In foreign countries, it is permissible to use eggs as an ingredient to get a good texture. But in India, only vegetarian ingredients are permitted. So we had to come up with a new formula that gives a smooth texture”, says Akshay.
“Another challenge we face is the frequent power cuts and temperature fluctuations, because of which the icecream gets ruined sometimes.”
Future business plans
Eatally is planning to increase their capacity gradually and expand to more outlets. “We are planning to get our own coach and delivery system. Currently, we are in-talks with investors and venture capitalists to seek funding and grow further.”
Advice for food business owners
On being asked what advice he will give to food entrepreneurs, Akshay says, “Whatever your business is, continuously innovate. Then only can you stay at top. Things might seem too difficult, but be persistent and don’t lose hope.”
Every ice cream is a testimonial on how much skill and craftsmanship goes into making it. One flavour at a time, Eatally is bringing a fresh change to this familiar dessert.
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