Hyderabad: Cooped up inside the house for more than a year, baking enthusiast Sahithi Anreddy and her colleague SatyaDev Ganji got to thinking on how to utilise their gluten-free lifestyle for a business opportunity. After eight months of research and planning recipes, they along with Sahithi’s mother Haritha started Healthy Panda, a dessert service specialising in gluten-free desserts. What they offer are truffles in flavours like coconut paan, chocolate hazelnut, chocolate fudge, chocolate expresso apart from brownies.
“Right now, we do brownies and truffles. When we first broached the idea within our circle of family and friends, everyone felt that gluten-free truffles may not really fly with customers. It’s a decadent sweet. But, we tried and tested various combinations and eventually most agreed they tasted good,” recalls SatyaDev, co-founder of Healthy Panda.
Typically, truffles are balls of chilled chocolate ganache and are heavy on cream. “We switch out the ingredients since we can’t use maida, we may use other types of flours for the base in brownies and use other ingredients like palm jaggery, organic honey, pure maple syrup, flaxseeds… so far, the feedback we got is positive. So that’s encouraging. Most of our customers are aware of gluten-free products and we have never really had to explain what gluten-free means. We have kids as well as elderly people coming back for repeat orders,” says SatyaDev. The duo delivers throughout the city and usually Sahithi and her mother are up and baking early in the morning, while SatyaDev takes care of the marketing.
Using his IT expertise in social media marketing, he says, lockdown became the perfect opportunity for them to scope out the market for such products. “It’s actually been a good time to start a business like this. We are all at home and not really able to go out. Social media marketing worked in our favour because now we get 25 orders a day, and that’s just through word of mouth besides the orders we get online,” says SatyaDev. Encouraged by the initial response, the duo is now looking at doing gluten-free cakes, think jowar, or vanilla bean.
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