Okay, so you know the niche for this blog is ‘Brands that touch our lifestyle’, and what could touch our lives more than the food we eat? Yes, you guessed it right. My focus for the fortnight is food brands.
In the blistering summer, when heat brings down your zest quotient, a dollop of ice cream is anytime a refreshing suggestion. Then, if you have a sweet tooth like me, you don’t really need an excuse to reach out for ice creams as desserts.
The brand that I pick up today is Natural, a local Indian brand of fruit ice-creams established in 1984 in Mumbai. Somehow organic always appeals to me, so naturally Natural is my first pick in this category.
Classic Indian flavours from Naturals
Mango, papaya, raspberry, mulberry, chikoo, custard apple, tender coconut or jack fruit are flavours that you don’t generally get in ice creams. Do you? Natural has all these unconventional flavours and more, like dry fruit flavours such as roasted almond, or coffee walnut.
You find a distinct difference in the taste and feel as the traditional Indian flavours, blended with creamy milk, melt in your mouth to give you a delectable experience.
Natural maintains its unique identity by creating dramatic new flavours specific to occasions such as Thandai during holi, Tilgul Flavour ice cream on Makar Sankranti, Fall in Love on the Valentine’s Day, or Raspberry, Blueberry, Cranberry and Mulberry flavours during Natural Berry festival.
First Natural Outlet
Started by Raghunandan Kamath in 1984, Natural grew from a small outlet in Juhu, Mumbai into a niche business with franchises in West and South-West India, and has recently expanded to North India as well.
Kamath, the son of a fruit dealer in Mumbai, had developed a good knowledge of fruits while he assisted his father in selling fruits. When he decided to open his own ice cream parlour, his passion for fruits translated into ice creams and Kamath introduced fruit ice creams made in a traditional way.
Juhu, being the place where movie stars mostly reside in Mumbai, the location of the outlet helped, and in two years, Naturals had the top movie and television celebrities, as their clients.
Artisan ice cream has its own challenges
Natural claims to use only fresh fruit or dry fruit, milk and sugar with no artificial flavours or preservatives.
All the Naturals ice cream is made in a traditional way at a single factory in Kandivali, Mumbai. To preserve the flavours and natural fruit colours, freshly bought fruits and dry fruits are peeled manually. The peeled fruits are de-seeded by hand, chopped and pureed, and the peeled dry fruits are crushed and pulped.
Frozen fruit pulp and processed milk can be stored for a maximum of four days, which is a major consideration in expansion.
A low shelf life of traditional ice cream, requires that the company itself handles distribution. That’s why you find the ice cream only at Naturals franchisee outlets and not in any street corner shops or in malls. In Mumbai, you can also place online order for the ice cream to be delivered at your doorstep.
Naturals have recently expanded to Delhi and would need to start more manufacturing hubs to service other parts of the country.
So far, Natural remains one of the most savoured ice cream local ice cream brands in western India. Like many others, I too, love to beat the summer heat with Naturals.
Image source : Twitter timeline of @Naturalicecream
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