Lockdown inspires mom to turn entrepreneur by making gluten-free, 100% vegetarian ice cream


Around the beginning of the pandemic-induced lockdown in the country last year, when many of us were wary of ordering in food, 41-year-old Prerna Puri from Gurugram was also skeptical about buying ice cream for her child from outside. While many food enthusiasts came up with trends as a result of their culinary experiments, Puri also decided to whip up homemade ice cream on her own. What she finally came up with was a dessert that was gluten-free with no milk and made completely with natural ingredients.

Prerna’s handcrafted ice cream, which began as a home experiment, has since then found enough buyers across the Delhi-NCR region. The all-natural, 100 per cent vegetarian ice cream also comes in a special colourful freezer and microwave-safe tub created from reusable, food-grade plastic. In an email interaction, the mompreneur spoke to indianexpress.com about her venture.


How did you come up with the idea of making this ice cream?

The year 2020 was full of uncertainty and a nationwide lockdown amid a global pandemic, but it’s this adversity that managed to turn into the best opportunity for me. During the pandemic, I was very concerned to buy ice cream for my child from local vendors. Hence, I decided to make ice cream on my own. I wanted to give delicious ice cream to my child, so I underwent rigorous research on various ice cream recipes and realised that stabilizers, emulsifiers, artificial flavours and colours were commonly used in the preparation of all ice creams which weren’t good for health. As a result, I began preparing ice creams in my home kitchen with pure, all-natural and premium ingredients without using any kind of artificial additives and served it to my child and family initially, and subsequently to friends and relatives, who loved it. They all got together and forced me into selling by word-of-mouth. I was so inspired by the overwhelmingly positive feedback that I decided to take it a little more professionally and get it out to more people and thus started my journey as a mompreneur.

When did you start the venture?

I started my venture in May 2020 during the lockdown. Being an alumnus of the National Institute of Fashion Technology, design and fashion was my life and career. In fact, I was an interior designing consultant till before the nationwide lockdown was implemented. Being from a fashion background, I always thought that I’d do something related and never expected to start a business that is not related to designing. But as they say, life’s full of surprises and you never know where it takes you. Now I have my own ice cream brand, which is India’s first certified gluten-free dairy ice cream.

What kind of ingredients do you use?

Prerna’s handcrafted ice cream is now India’s first certified gluten-free dairy ice cream brand. Handcrafted ice creams or artisanal ice creams are literally made by hand, in small batches and are not mass-produced by machines. Our ice creams are made with low-fat cream (no milk or water at all) and have absolutely no stabilizers, emulsifiers, preservatives, artificial flavours, artificial colours, thickeners or any other artificial additives added to them. Our ice creams are all-natural and 100 per cent vegetarian. Devoid any artificial additives, it’s a revolutionary technique of making pure ice creams. We currently have flavours like pure chocolate, pure chocolate with almonds, pure vanilla with assorted nuts & black raisins, pure almond marzipan, pure coconut, and pure coffee. Pure mango and pure litchi are our seasonal flavours. We are also in the process of launching an entire line of fruit sorbets.

Was the production process difficult amid pandemic restrictions? How did you manage it all?

The journey was not an easy one. It was difficult to get the ingredients due to lockdown restrictions. I was ordering things online; it took them ages to arrive. In the initial days, I made the ice cream by hand more than any other equipment. When I went to the market after the lockdown was lifted, I couldn’t really find equipment to make ice cream the way I did, since most of these machines catered to the usual industry practices. We got some blenders to match the rising demand. But even now, my ice creams remain handcrafted as I use less equipment for their preparation.

What is the cost of the ice creams?

We have 3 sizes:

(a) 75ml – Rs 95
(b) 250ml tub – Rs 350
(c) 500ml tub – Rs 650

What kind of response have you been getting?

When my family and friends gave me positive feedback, I gained more confidence. Finally, in June 2020, I decided to take it up professionally and approached Modern Bazaar, a retail premium chain in Delhi, to sell my ice cream. The response has been tremendous and overwhelming! We now retail our ice creams through premium grocery stores like Modern Bazaar, The Goodness stores, Earth Organic Store, In and Out, and many more in Delhi-NCR and all Nature’s Basket stores, Society Stores and Benzer Foods stores across Mumbai and Pune. We also do direct deliveries in the Delhi-NCR region. Our first flagship store is coming up shortly in Mumbai. We are also looking to expand our brand’s presence across India by signing tie-ups with franchises as I feel franchise business is one the best marketing options for mompreneurs and other independent entrepreneurs to expand the business into a larger organisation.

At home, how strictly do you follow healthy eating rules?

I am very particular about giving my family freshly made homecooked food. Fresh being the keyword, I like to use seasonal veggies and fruits. I’ve encouraged the habit of not consuming packaged juices or aerated drinks.

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