Big Idea

How Epigamia created a new category in the Indian consumption space

Epigamia has become eponymous with flavoured yoghurt in the country, by transforming the humble dahi into a gourmet lifestyle offering

Faisal Magray

It’s a cut. Deepika Padukone is at work, revisiting a take she just shot. As she does that, she’s also intently snacking on a cup of yoghurt. That’s what the Bajirao Mastani star digs into during quick work breaks — she calls it her ‘happy balance’. The 10-second ad did not have a single dialogue, but the message was clear, and the ad, a hit. Epigamia’s tasty snack — humble dahi in delectable flavours — delivers nutrition to those who are short on time. 

The 37-year-old co-founder and CEO of Drums Food International, parent company of Epigamia, narrates how a four-year-old yoghurt brand became a rage, big enough to win the Bollywood star’s investment and brand ambassadorship. “Entrepreneurs need to keep throwing darts, each successive one closer to the target. That is what we did,” explains Rohan Mirchandani, the man better known as the founder of once popular ice cream parlour chain, Hokey Pokey.  

Founded in 2007, Drums Food — co-founded by Mirchandani, Ganesh Krishnamoorthy, Rahul Jain and Uday Thakker — has seen its share of ups and downs. The four had set out to open a dessert lounge in Mumbai with an investment of Rs.1.5 million. It was unique, fun and an indulgence. A customer could choose the scoop of ice cream and toppings that ranged from cookies and chocolates to brownies and gems — a completely customised dessert, one of the first ones in the city. 

Even as the ‘ice-cream lounge’ attracted customers and more outlets were opened, the founders realised that the brand’s topline was not growing. The premium positioning was its Achilles’ heel. “It was more of a celebratory brand. So, we would see good walk-ins during weekends, but the stores would be empty during weekdays,” recalls Mirchandani. They had to get more volume.

 That’s when they turned the ice cream into an FMCG product. In 2014, Mirchandani set up a 2,000 square feet warehouse, and released Hokey Pokey’s best-selling flavours in store

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