Elato: a delicious force for good
Imagine an ice cream that tastes amazing, is better for you and also does good by giving back to the community. Elato Artisanal Ice Cream is Australia’s first social enterprise ice cream brand, launching nationally in November last year. A premium product with 30 percent less sugar and added prebiotics for gut health, the business has committed to returning a large share of its profits to food relief organisation OzHarvest.
Elato was created by Melbourne-based former lawyer Roz Kaldor-Aroni, who decided she wanted to combine her passion for food with a desire to leverage her skills to do good.
“I studied science and law at uni,” she says. “I loved science, but also wanted to be a lawyer. It seemed logical to put the two together. I majored in chemistry, then I graduated and worked as a lawyer. But I also started playing with ice cream at home.”
Kaldor-Aroni’s husband gave her an ice cream textbook, which included recipes and the science behind ice cream. The food and science-lover within her was instantly excited.
“I thought, this is incredible,” she recalls. “It all sits with my skill set. It all came together in a big realisation: I can work with food and science and maths, all at the same time!”
The science of ice cream
While for most of us, ice cream is simply something amazing to eat, for Kaldor-Aroni, it offered an opportunity to combine everything she loved with her goal to give back to the community after enjoying a successful legal career.
“Ice cream is all about mathematical relationships and physical chemistry,” she says. “It’s measured very analytically – how sugars impact freezing points and sweetness; how the combination of fats, sugars and water combine to create an emulsion. And depending on the type of equipment you have, you then need to work out how much air to put into it.”
Yep, air is important for ice cream. Blue Ribbon vanilla ice cream, for example, is 120 percent air. But this is not a sneaky way for manufacturers to save a bit of cash by cutting back on other ingredients; air is needed to keep ice cream in a frozen state, so you can buy it at the supermarket and then take it home without it melting.
“Imagine a much more complex version of whipped cream,” Kaldor-Aroni says. “You’ve got sugars, you’ve got water, then you’ve got cream and air. You’ve got a lot of things that are interacting. And it all comes together in this incredible substance called ice cream.”
The light-bulb moment
While at first, Kaldor-Aroni just tinkered with recipes at home, she soon wanted to learn more. She trained at the William Angliss Institute in Melbourne before travelling to Canada to study with the world’s leading academic in ice cream, food science professor Douglas Goff from the University of Guelph. That’s when everything really came together.
While in Canada, Kaldor-Aroni learned it was possible to make low-lactose ice cream. This doesn’t just offer an alternative for the lactose intolerant; it also means you need less sugar.
“If you compare lactose-free milk with regular milk, you’ll notice the lactose-free milk is sweeter,” she says. “Lactose is two sugars joined together: glucose and galactose. Glucose, when it splits from galactose, becomes lactose-free. And glucose alone is three times sweeter than lactose. So simply by splitting the lactose, you suddenly have ice cream that’s 30 percent sweeter. When I realised this, the light bulbs lit up.”
Back in Melbourne, Kaldor-Aroni found a contract manufacturer and began seeking a charity to support. To include her love of food, she wanted it to be a food-related one.
“OzHarvest was the most interested and excited about what we were doing,” she says. “But I also liked its focus on food rescue and innovation to fight food waste in Australia.”
Elato currently returns four cents per tub to OzHarvest. But the aim is to return 50 percent of profits to the organisation. This will occur once the business has recovered its expenses.
As part of Kaldor-Aroni’s mission to use Elato as a force for good, she insists on sourcing key flavour ingredients only from suppliers committed to sustainability, regeneration, fair trade and positive social impact. Organic vegan chocolate is sourced from the Solomon Islands through social enterprise Solomons Gold; vanilla is sustainably sourced from Tonga through the internationally acclaimed Heilala Vanilla; the coffee is ethically sourced by Change Coffee, World Vision’s first social enterprise in Australia.
“They’re all committed to local people, ensuring they have a liveable wage,” she says. “They’re training new people, they’re creating employment. So they’ve got the right ethos. And they’re also social enterprises; they give back part or all of their profits to the locals.”
All about the taste
While doing good and giving back are key to Kaldor-Aroni’s business, so too is creating an ice cream that’s both healthier and tastes better than her competitors.
“We’re a crossover between what you’d currently call ‘better for you’ ice cream, which is sugar-free, but what I would call very compromised in flavour and texture; and the indulgent at the other end of the spectrum,” she says. “We’re right in the middle.
“But first and foremost, it’s all about taste. You can try and make it healthier, sure, but if you compromise on taste, you’re history.”
Kaldor-Aroni encourages consumers to try her products alongside Connoisseur vanilla and coffee and Pana Organic chocolate ice creams in a blind taste test, to work out for themselves how they think it rates. That’s how she developed her products.
“I try my competitors’ products alongside mine, making sure mine is better, both in flavour and texture,” she says. You’ve got to get your keep your eye on the prize. And the prize is to always make it taste better. That’s been my absolute focus.”
Elato Artisanal Ice Cream is available in dairy-based Triple Vanilla and Cold Brew Decaf Café Latte, as well as plant-based Dark Chocolate Truffle. It’s also free from chemicals, colours, preservatives and major allergens, including gluten. The three-health-star rated ice cream is now available in independent retailers nationally.
To learn more about Elato Artinsanal Ice cream, visit the Elato website.