It came from Roz's (our founder's) hobby making gelato. She learned that gelato has strong flavours but melts quickly from store to home due to its density and high sugar levels. Ice cream on the other hand melts less due to less sugar and having more air acting as insulation. Roz set out to leave us feeling ”elated” by combining the strong flavours of gelato but with less sugar and optimal melting resistance of ice cream – creating the best of both worlds! Our founder, Roz set out to leave us feeling ”elated” by combining the strong flavours of gelato but with less sugar and optimal melting resistance of ice cream – creating the best of both worlds!
The Australian food industry don't have have definitions for these words. So Elato has created its own definition. Elato considers "all natural" and "clean label" to have the same meaning and our own definition has been partly borrowed from the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). Our definition of "all natural" and "clean label" is: 1. using ingredients collected from a source in nature; 2. ingredients isolated with minimal processing without the use of any chemicals - which we get confirmed in writing from our suppliers. This means rejecting ingredients that utilize chemicals for manufacturing even if cheaper. See the discussion about egg yolk and cocoa powder below; and 3. ice cream made at the factory with minimal processing and without the use of either: 1. manufacturing techniques not available from domestic appliances such as extrusion which is considered an ultra-processing step and is often used for single serve stick ice creams; nor 2. chemicals, preservatives, artificial or un-named flavours and no added colours. These additives are used in ultra-processed ice cream to make the cost of production cheaper and to extend shelf life. They are not required when making authentic ice cream like Elato.
Two reasons. Health and texture. The health reason is that erythritol can irritate the bowels of some people. The issue with texture is that depending on the quantity of erythritol used, it can change the texture of ice cream, making it both less creamy as well as sandy which Elato won't accept for its products.
Coconut cream is the only plant based milk available that is extracted using minimal "clean" processing. Other plant based milks use chemicals and/or ultra processing techniques during manufacturing to extract their milks as well as adding extra minerals to make claims about what has been added.
It is cocoa powder dusted onto the top surface of the ice cream when it was made in the factory. Whilst it may look different, we add this cocoa powder for taste plus it helps preserve our vegan dark chocolate truffle product from getting icy. When you have eaten the top layer of cocoa power, sprinkle over more from your pantry supply, to add to the taste as well as helping with preservation.
Whilst some of our ingredients are organic, the increased cost of having both an organically certified product in addition to using Elato’s quality ingredients, would not be accepted by ice cream buyers. We still plan to make an organic product whenever costs permit.
Our Founder is a chocoholic who knows a great deal about chocolate. She learned that an alkaline chemical known as potassium carbonate is used in all cocoa not labelled as "natural". This type of chemically treated cocoa is also known as Dutch cocoa because it was invented by the Dutch to remove the acidic taste and bitterness from cocoa powder. To create Elato's clean label chocolate product, meant using only natural cocoa. However, the taste wasn’t great due to its acidity and lack of the rich flavour found in Dutch cocoa. After some research, our Founder became aware of a new "clean label" great tasting natural cocoa which didn't use potassium carbonate. So we refer to it on our pack as "natural unalkalised cocoa". Elato is the first brand in Australia to use this cocoa in ice cream and we think the flavour works well. Please let us know if you agree.
It’s all about taste and structure! When our Founder was learning to make gelato in Italy, they made five recipes with an egg base, where egg was the emulsifier (helping fats and water mix) and the same flavours with a non-egg or “white” base that used mono- and diglycerides as the emulsifier. The taste difference was striking.
That was enough for our Founder. The egg base was both a clean product and had a richer fuller taste and was much more satisfying - but more expensive. Mono- and diglycerides are found in oils in nature but at large scale are made using a chemical process and as a result, is much cheaper than egg yolk.
Our Founder resolved to only use egg in future for all her dairy ice cream recipes but also created an egg free vegan chocolate flavour that uses "clean label" sunflower lecithin as the emulsifier for anyone allergic to egg. Egg also helps the structure of ice cream, reducing the speed at which ice cream melts. This means that Elato arrives at your home from the store with less chance of the melted edges inside the tub re-freezing and getting icy after you place it in your freezer.
It’s all about taste and colour. Coconut sugar has a slight caramel taste and a darker colour than white sugar which doesn’t work well with vanilla. We are investigating using unprocessed sugar for other flavours.
Our Founder wanted to launch with strong flavours that she was taught to make for gelato. She was really impressed with the way that infusions provided flavour to gelato – especially vanilla and coffee. These flavours were also able to be developed with 3 star health ratings. This meant that vanilla and coffee made it to the top of the flavour list. The third flavour was always going to be chocolate as it has strong flavour and our Founder is a chocoholic!
Two reasons – taste and health. The question above explains the taste reasons for selecting vanilla and coffee. For chocolate, the taste was better with a coconut cream base than dairy because (for complex reasons relating to ice cream chemistry) more chocolate can be added with a plant-based recipe than with dairy. The health reasons relate to huge health advantages of eating dairy which is explained further in the last question below. The health reasons for having dairy flavours are just as important to our Founder as environmental issues. So dairy flavours were always going to be included.
Two reasons. First, our Founder knows that ice cream tubs purchased for home consumption are mostly eaten at night. Anyone who likes coffee but is sensitive to caffeine, was missing out on eating coffee flavoured ice cream at night. A good decaf flavour was needed which with the help of Change Coffee, was selected. Second, our Founder is allergic to the caffeine in coffee. So she was never going to be developing a flavour where she might have an allergic reaction.
See Elato's Blog post, about which is healthier, ice cream or gelato.
This is because we have used lactase in the ice cream to remove lactose in our dairy products. Lactose when removed, is broken down by lactase into its two parts - glucose and galactose. Not only is this of benefit to anyone with lactose intolerance but is also 30% sweeter than before it was broken into two parts (when it was lactose). This means that we can add 30% less sugar and still have the same sweetness in our ice cream than ice creams that contain lactose.
By using the naturally occurring enzyme lactase, in our production process, we remove almost all lactose in Elato. For anyone with lactose intolerance, we recommend trialing a small sample first to see if there are any adverse reactions and if not - then eat more!
When developing recipes, our Founder learned that adding fibre and protein to ice cream has a long list of health benefits but doesn't impact taste or texture. Health is important to our Founder. So having added fibre and protein became an important feature of Elato.
The first benefit is that adding fibre and protein means it takes longer to digest in your gut, leaving you feeling fuller for longer and helping you eat less ice cream - which our Founder supports. A second benefit is that fibre helps feed the good bacteria in your gut. A third benefit, is that eating Elato, contributes to the recommended daily fibre intake of 25-30mg per day - See advice from Nutrition Australia.
Finally, because of these health benefits, adding fibre and protein can improve the health star rating of foods. After experimenting with different levels of fibre, our Founder settled on a level that still maintained exceptional texture and taste but was also sufficient to have some benefit in the gut. Interestingly, our Founder developed a 4 star rated ice cream but the very low fat meant that the texture was too compromised for Elato. So it wasn't selected for commercialisation.
The health star rating system is very much like a see saw. To get a high score you need to offset sugar, saturated fat and salt with high levels of fibre and protein. The system has been widely criticised for favouring breakfast cereals. However for ice cream, the system works well.
One of the pillars of Elato, is to create a "better for you" ice cream. When Elato was being developed, we made a conscious decision to use less sugar and swap out that sugar for much healthier soluble fibre and higher levels of protein derived from our dairy ingredients - but without compromising Elato’s exceptional texture.
Once we had developed a recipe that met our taste and texture standards, we were delighted that it improved our star rating from the usual 2 stars for ice cream to 3 stars!
Three reasons. First, milk is an excellent source of calcium to help grow bones, especially in teenagers. This is because it has high bioavailability of calcium because of the presence of lactose or "broken down" lactose (which is what is present in Elato - see FAQ above) and is considered much better than supplements for delivering calcium to bones.
Plant based milks are fortified with calcium but it is still very unclear if these milks can deliver the same amount of calcium to bones as milk. This could potentially be due to the lack of presence of lactose or broken down lactose. In the USA, recent studies have shown that a range of factors, including a drop in dairy consumption in young women has led to very concerning levels of female early onset osteoporosis. Until these issues are understood better, Elato is a strong advocate for consumption of dairy – even if it is in the form of ice cream.
Second, dairy products are a good source of iodine for the body. Iodine is used to make thyroid hormones which control a range of functions in the body. Since iodine isn't produced in the body, external sources are needed. We think dairy is a great way to include iodine in a healthy diet. Plant based milks only contain iodine if fortified. So this is worth checking.
Third, dairy ice cream tastes amazing, especially when it is Elato.