Sheena Jain started making almond milk at home after being steadily discouraged by paediatricians and her mother to not give preservative-based milk to her children. It didn’t help either that there was a dearth of fresh almond milk in the market, containing substantial almond content. Over the next few days, she found herself making it not only for her kids, but also her family, vegan friends, and those with lactose-intolerant kids. That is when Jain and her husband, Tarun, decided to give it a more professional touch by kick-starting Sain, an almond milk brand, in July 2017.
Since then, the couple put up stalls at large food fests in Delhi, before shifting to more niche markets such as organic farmers’ markets, gyms and vegan fests. Many were not aware of almond milk, and others who were, could not understand why Sain was better than the carton almond milk available in the market. “Given the way milk is worshipped in our country, we knew we’d face challenges. However, it was worth the effort — perhaps only a few understood, but the customers who did are the ones that we have earned for life,” says Sheena.
The nutritional profile of a typical tetra pack of almond milk states that it is pasteurised, has 2-5% almonds, emulsifiers and fortified with Vitamin E. In contrast, Sain is not pasteurised, has a whopping 25% almond content, no added preservatives, sugar, emulsifiers, or Vitamin E (since it is naturally high due to the almond concentration).
Sain operates out of a professional kitchen in Delhi that has a production capacity of 400 bottles a day. The start-up has also employed five cooks and three delivery personnel who currently deliver 150-200 bottles daily in New Delhi. The 210 ml of almond milk bottles, available in seven flavours [original, cardamom, cacao and more] can be ordered online, by phone, or signing up to monthly subscription packages. In May 2018, Sain has hit the shelves of Foodhall and are in talks with retail chain Horizon.
With the younger population becoming health conscious by leaps and bounds, propelled by social media influencers, the market for raw almond milk only seems to be increasing. “One year from now, we want to expand geographically. We’re looking at supplying 5,000 bottles a day in Delhi NCR. We also want to expand our product range to include yoghurt and cheese. The idea is to create a dairy-free market, not just an alternative for milk,” says Tarun. As Jain points out, it’s a market for the future and there’s no looking back.