From Home Kitchen to Multi-Outlet Chain: Kind Kones’ Growth Story
With a presence in Malaysia, and Singapore this Asia-born natural vegan ice cream brand has grown in line with market demands.
20 November 2023
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Traditional ice cream’s popularity has waned due to dairy intolerances reaching a staggering 90% among East Asians (US National Institutes of Health). Therefore, the demand for a vegan, plant-based alternative to these icy treats has never been higher.
Serina Bajaj, Co-founder of Kind Kones, faced lactose intolerance during her pregnancy which sparked a creative culinary journey. This led to inventive, all-natural ice cream recipes crafted in her home kitchen with a trusty ice cream machine.
The success of Serina’s experiments paved the way for Kind Kones, which initially targeted the Malaysian market. Beyond a frozen dessert, Kind Kones is truly ‘inclusive,’ catering to various dietary preferences — vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, and those conscious of sugar intake. Kind Kones’ ice creams exclude eggs, dairy, refined sugar, emulsifiers, preservatives, additives, artificial colourings, and flavourings. Instead, they feature coconut, cashews, or almonds, or a blend of all three.
What sets Kind Kones apart is its commitment to meeting the demand for healthier desserts without sacrificing on familiar tastes. This dedication transformed Kind Kones into a thriving empire, present in Singapore and Malaysia. With a library of 100 flavours, many inspired by Asian desserts, such as Pandan Gula Melaka and Avocado Coconut.
After a year in R&D, Kind Kones rolled out in Malaysia in 2017 — at the time it was Malaysia’s first vegan ice-cream shop. Teaming up with a professional pastry chef, Serina transformed ice cream norms and overcame the challenge of the availability of limited plant-based ingredients. Despite initial unfamiliarity, their debut in Malaysia triumphed as customers embraced the unique flavours and ethos, one scoop at a time.
Their inclusive range has grown to include keto-friendly options as well as sorbets. No ice cream is complete without the perfect crunch of a cone, so of course they have cones that cater to dietary restrictions and are a healthier alternative to traditional ones. Their flourless gluten-free waffle cone was a hard one to develop but with ‘good for you’ ingredients such as almond flour, flax seeds, raw cane sugar and dairy-free chocolate they seem to have got the taste and texture right.
In a bid for expansion, Kind Kones scooped its way into Singapore in 2019 at Forum Mall. The location was a deliberate choice, attracting families with children seeking a healthier dessert option. Customers not only embraced the diverse flavours but also became part of the creative process, contributing to the brand’s library of over 100 flavours through a flavour notes competition. With 18 choices on display at any given time, the selection rotates according to the seasons, offering a sweet treat for every occasion.
Their best seller is Almond Brittle Fudge and rightfully so given that it has crunchy brittle candy pieces that are made from crushed almonds, cacao nibs, dairy-free chocolate, and chia seeds. The nutritional information per 100g varies from flavour to flavour but their classic Madagascan Vanilla Bean has 193.2 kcal of Energy, 19.0g of Carbohydrates, 1.6g of Protein and 12.2g of fat.
Their next location in Singapore was on the Orchard Road shopping belt’s Paragon Mall and their recent addition is the revamped i12 Katong in the East Coast.
Further testament to the growth and demand for plant-based alternatives is that Tech In Asia reported their latest (2022) round of series A funding at S$1.5 million led by Singapore-based VC fund DSG Consumer Partners. Compare this to their previous round which closed at S$1 million just a year ago (2021), it shows Kind Kones is on a trajectory to grow steadily. Their latest fund raise sets Kind Kones’ valuation to S$10 million.
Amid the lockdowns of the pandemic, their doorstep delivery option didn’t just broaden reach; it ignited a health-conscious revolution, making indulgence in a wholesome treat possible for everyone, even those without dietary intolerances. In the era where healthy choices reign supreme, Kind Kones emerges as the ultimate craving crusher, offering not just ice cream but desserts brimming with natural goodness. From their crowd-pleasing vegan ice cream cake to delightful flourless brownies and whimsically named Bliss Balls, the product range is expanding to redefine the sweet tooth’s expectations.
As the global vegan ice cream market gears up to hit a whopping US$805.3 million by 2027, the current trend is merely the tip of the iceberg. Kind Kones, spearheading this wholesome wave, envisions expanding across Asia and beyond as the appetite for this healthier indulgence category continues to flourish.
Author: Sabina Munshi
Sabina Munshi is a contributing writer in the F&B industry with over 10 years of experience in print and digital media in Singapore. She is an avid traveller and is passionate about the world of branding.