How Break of Dawn is pioneering a vegan-friendly movement using its USP and core value proposition with Founder Pardita Mascarenhas
The one thing that sets apart Break of Dawn from other almond milks out there is the brand’s promise of fresh milk delivery and the very taste of the milk. The founder of Slicc herself is a customer of Break of Dawn and is truly inspired by the brand’s journey. Since Slicc also began as a homegrown model, we were excited to learn that Break of Dawn’s almond milk is created and delivered fresh daily. We were even more excited to learn from Pardita about her and her brand’s journey and what obstacles she faced while scaling up her homegrown business. We hope this article interests any entrepreneur or individual who is also beginning or thinking of beginning their brand journey from home.
BREAK OF DAWN BY PARDITA MASCARENHAS. It’s simply nuts!
Pardita Mascarenhas is the founder of Break of Dawn, a handcrafted almond milk & cheese brand that delivers fresh and extremely tasty milk all over Mumbai! Their almond milk is one of their signature items along with their almond feta cheese but they also sell flavourful granola bars and other vegan foods. The name break of dawn arises from the whole concept of having fresh milk supplied at the “crack of dawn” in India and Pardita wanted to envision the same in her brand because she wanted her dairy-free customers to enjoy that same fresh, new day feeling.
A GLIMPSE INTO THE INTERVIEW
Can you give a brief overview of your background and the inspiration behind Break of Dawn?
I turned vegan in 2015 and simply couldn’t find enough food and dairy replacements that were good and tasty. This is something that would totally deter someone looking to follow a dairy-free lifestyle. So I started making almond milk for myself. Soon, my brother, who is lactose intolerant, also wanted it. And basically, every time I made batches for myself, they disappeared from my fridge. My friends and family, everyone who tasted it, told me I needed to start making it for others too. It was never my plan... this was simply to sustain myself honestly. But it stirred within me... the idea of it, and thus break of dawn was born. Once that happened, there was no looking back!
Can you briefly describe the journey from the inception of the brand to where it is now?
The brand promise from the very beginning was to have your bottle of almond milk delivered fresh, at the crack of dawn. The idea was that if people got dairy milk at their doorstep every morning, why not almond milk !! As we began.. small and from my home kitchen, my husband and I, literally delivered these ourselves even if it was just a few bottles. It was 3 am mornings for us for a very very long time.
Fast forward to the moment and we’ve just moved to a new studio kitchen, gone through a beautiful rebranding process with a refreshing look and packaging that brings alive the philosophy with which we started. Along with our ever-expanding menu, my team has also grown in size. It's not a - woman- army anymore, and I’m so grateful for being surrounded by people who love Break of Dawn and who are so passionate about what we are trying to do. We will soon have additional channels of distribution including our own e-commerce platform. And we’ll be expanding our footprint across many more homes in newer cities very soon. I cannot wait for that to happen!
But at the heart of our business, nothing has really changed. The recipes of all our products are still the same. Everything is still hand-crafted in micro-batches, free of refined sugar, preservatives, and the like. And almost five years later, our promise of fresh early morning deliveries still remains our core proposition and USP.
How were you able to spread awareness around a vegan/healthy lifestyle through your brand?
We were one of the first movers in the space - so clearly, the word in the vegan community spread rapidly. As people looked to transition, they knew they could depend on Break of Dawn to deliver their milk (and other treats) every morning, come rain or shine!
Over time though, I’ve got to admit that we weren’t just attracting a vegan customer base. While the health and nutritional benefits of our offerings stand out, I do believe it to be the taste that really sets us apart. Being vegan and healthy doesn’t mean a compromise on taste - we are yummy too!
What were some of the challenges you faced in getting your brand out there to where it is now? How did you overcome these challenges?
As I alluded to earlier, the biggest challenge is probably the myth that vegan food can’t be delicious. We took that head-on since the very first bottle of almond milk or feta cheese that was made. If I can’t enjoy it, I don't think I would recommend it. Today, we hear of so many customers telling us that they enjoy their cup of coffee with our almond milk - much more than they would with a dairy or any other alternative. The same when it comes to our cheeses. We keep hearing that our almond feta, for instance, is better than any dairy-based feta they’ve ever tried. Testament to the above is the fact that while everything we make is vegan, over 80% of our customers aren’t vegan or lactose intolerant.
When you started the brand, do you think it was difficult to get people to try plant-based milk?
We’ve been blessed with great customers that have helped spread the word and I guess there isn’t anything more powerful than word-of-mouth advertising. That said, even to this day, there’s apprehension from people who either haven’t tried good plant-based milk or have suffered from experimenting with store-bought versions. We find ways to surprise them through events and any points of interaction that we are able to create a presence at.
What are your thoughts on the current vegan market in India, obstacles brands might face entering it and where do you see it going?
There is an exponential year-on-year growth in veganism, however, the base is relatively small. However, there is a larger cohort of people looking for plant-based products. This is a result of all that's happening around us - we’re hearing of more and more people with lactose intolerance, increased awareness linked to dairy farming practices and animal cruelty as well as climate impact. Others simply want to enjoy the nutritional benefits offered by plant-based products such as ours. We are happy with where we stand and are taking micro-steps in our own way to delight our customers with our products, our ideas, and our intent.
What impact do you wish to create through your brand?
With everything we produce being vegan, fresh, and healthy - we clearly stand for something. As a brand though, we’ve opted to not be preachy and instead commit to raising awareness for causes and matters we believe in. We carry this out through specific partnerships, collaborations, promotions, and events. You should see a lot more from us in this area in the months and year(s) ahead.
If someone out there needs some advice on how to get started as a healthy foods brand - what advice would you give to them?
Whether it’s a food brand or anything else - it’s got to be something you believe in and are passionate about. If you’re able to translate that passion to solve a problem or need of the communities you intend to serve, there will be no looking back.
SLICC’s FAVOURITE HIGHLIGHTS.
- “If I can’t enjoy it, I don’t think I would recommend it” - It’s important as a brand to believe in your product and let that belief and passion come across through your branding and marketing!
- Vegan food CAN be delicious! - This is probably one of the biggest myths around vegan food. With more and more alternatives coming into the market, it's time to break this myth once and for all.
- There isn’t anything more powerful than word-of-mouth marketing - Just like Pardita, we too believe in the strength of organic and word-of-mouth marketing for a brand’s overall growth. It’s cost-effective yet impactful!
Break of Dawn’s almond milk is one of the favorite almond milks we’ve had. Their date flavor is by far our favorite and we would urge everyone who’s either had almond milk before or wants to give it a try, to consider Break of Dawn’s almond milk. They offer many flavors to cater to everyone’s taste buds:)