Tony skinner 00:02
Hi, and welcome to the podcast channel for podcastmybusiness.com.au and contentmadeeasy.com.au And today we have Roz from https://elato.com.au/ And we’re talking about awesome ice cream, some of which is vegan, which is great. How are you?
I’m great. Thank you, Tony.
Tony skinner 00:23
Excellent, excellent. So were at an interesting time, I think people need some more lifting up and we’re heading into Christmas and the like. Yeah, but you’ve got a great range of ice cream. And what inspired you to get into the world of ice cream?
Look, it’s an interesting story. I did food chemistry at uni when I did my law degree. And so I’ve always been a bit of a foodie and interested in getting under the hood. I didn’t know I was gonna end up being ice cream that I delved into a lot of detail.
That happened because actually, I’ve got an identical twin who is making ice cream recipes and we were sharing recipes, we both started making ice cream, just you know, just because you do because you’ve got recipes. And you know was nothing more, but then my husband decided that I seemed to get a bit of interest. And so he got me a textbook on making ice cream, which seems a bit over the top. But for me, that was absolute nirvana.
Because I then discovered that ice cream was essentially a really good fit for my interest and skills because to make a beautiful ice cream that’s gonna work perfectly at small scale or large scale is all about understanding the maths, the physics and the chemistry. And of course, I did food chemistry at uni. And I really love the science. And I’m also very good at maths. And so that whole thing got me very excited. And the more I knew, the more I wanted to know. And suddenly my just hobby or making recipes at home became much more of an obsession.
And fortunately, there was a gelato making class here in Melbourne that we enable us which I attended. And it struck me somewhat horrifically that gelato, which is a beautiful fresh product. And you know, they throw it out every three days and interesting. That’s partly because gravity pushes the air out and it turns into a horrible mush, it can’t be sold, but quite apart from that. They use quite a lot of powdered chemicals in the product. And that really shocked me, not just me, everyone in the class were like, what? That’s weird. And so I thought I’d so I started my journey at that point, which was I don’t really want to use chemicals is there a way around that and they said,
Look, we’re using chemical emulsifier. It’s extracted from nature, but it is synthetically produced
Tony skinner 02:38
So whats an emulsifier? There are soya emulsifiers and the like
Very simply, it just joins the fat and the water together. So when you make a mayonnaise, for example, when you’re binding the oil together with the other ingredients, and you’ve got an egg yolk in there, all of a sudden that oil gets incorporated into the mix, because of the emulsifier, which is lecithin inside the egg yolk. And basically, simplistically, it’s a chemical itself, obviously, but natural, where it’s got one that sticks onto a water molecule and the other end sticks onto the fat. And hence it joins them together in a very, very simple way.
And the ice cream, you have 60% or more water, the rest solids, and obviously you’ve got in the case of ice cream. In our case, we’ve got about 13% fat. And if you don’t have something that makes the water and the fat joint together, it’s going to taste icy, it’s not going to taste smooth and beautiful and creamy. So you must have an emulsifier. And egg yolk is a stunning version of that beautifully natural makes an amazing product, beautiful tasting product. And I just kept thinking, why don’t we just do that? Of course the answer is cost. Cost is the reason it’s not used both in the gelateria as well as in manufacturing. And I just thought no, that that’s just not going to be the case for me. So in our dairy versions, we use egg yolks just really adds to the taste. It’s exceptional.
In the vegan version, we use sunflower lecithin, which is again extracted from nature, the same concept is this lecithin with the water in and the fat in that joint together. And because it’s extracted from nature, it’s what I prefer to use. Now I could use that in the dairy but I don’t because the flavor of the egg yolk is so good. It’s really hard to miss and it’s all about flavor. So, you know, then I went to Italy just to finish off the story that I went to Italy because I needed to know more advanced classes there where they gave me the chef whites so that I earned them. And then that was all fine. And we decided we wanted to potentially start doing business I started to look at how what that might look like. And then I learned but I hadn’t realized that ice cream has significantly less sugar than gelato.
And obviously is a lot more scalable because of the way it’s made. And it’s you use large factories to scale up and at the end of the day, my husband and I the whole idea of this was to use my skills and knowledge to give back And so we were looking at a way we could do it that was scalable, so that I could leverage my skill set as the maximum amount possible. And doing it at scale is the way you do that. And so July didn’t really fit anymore, because basically, it wasn’t healthy. As in it has a lot more sugar about 50% more sugar than than ice cream. It also has, has less fat, ice cream has more fat, but fats not the enemy anymore. Sugar is. And the other differences which helped towards the whole scaling is the ice cream has a little bit more air than gelato.
And so it actually, if you want to do a large scale product can go from shop to home, the air actually creates insulation for the product to have melting resistance when it travels from shop, to home. And so I suddenly thought, You know what, I backed the wrong horse here, I really need to be making ice cream. And so I was writing to the world’s leading academic in Canada, Professor Douglas cough about ice cream. I was reading his textbook and he said, Look, you know, you’ve got enough knowledge, come to my master class in Canada, which was December 2019. And that’s when everything changed. And my product became ice cream. And I learned all about these really interesting ways of modifying the product. And his I went on my lactose journey and all happened in Canada, which was December 2019. So all my recipes that I’ve done with gelato and all the work went out the window and I started from scratch.
Tony skinner 06:24
Right? Okay, so the way that you do it, you’re not being a tight arse, which is what the major major manufacturers are, by having their chemical binding with them, or whatever it was,
well, it’s actually it’s a it’s a product mono and diglycerides. It is actually found in nature, but to extract it from nature is too expensive. So they do make it synthetically. So let’s say let’s say it’s a natural product, but in fact, it’s not made natural
Tony skinner 06:52
Nature like I think is the term.
And look it is it’s a very, very effective product, but just not extracted from nature in the way that we use our egg yolk as emulsify.
Tony skinner 07:04
So I have tried making ice cream at home, I’ve got the full blown ice cream maker with a compressor and what have you. The form has been sitting there for two years. And I gave it a go because I wanted to make ice cream with less sugar, because you’re right. Sugar is the enemy not fat. Yeah. And at home, you know, you make it with fresh cream, and egg whites or whatever it is. And sugar. And I thought oh, there must be ways of reducing the sugar. But what I found is that if you don’t have enough sugar, it just turns to a solid block
Absolutley. That’s exactly that’s the chemistry of ice cream. So what the sugar does, it’s quite cool is that literally gets in the way of the water molecules finding each other and creating a strong lattice. So the more sugar you have, the less hard it’s going to be because the water cannot find each other because the sugars in the way. And so you’re absolutely right. So the less sugar the much harder it is. And so, because our products are all about taste and texture. We, we we don’t compromise on sugar, we do something different with sugar, which I actually want to move on to this, which enables us to use 30% Less added sugar.
Tony skinner 08:19
And I think as we discussed before we started today I drink lactose free milk. I discovered I was getting bloated. And when I stopped having full cream milk made a huge difference. But I was with some friends on the weekend and we’re having a coffee that when he tried lactose free because it tastes sweeter. Yes. Actually has less sugar than actual normal milk.
That’s not correct. It has exactly the same amount of sugar. All theyve done. That’s I mean, they might think that, but that’s good in a way because that’s kind of what we do is that lactose free milk and cream.
The reason it’s lactose free is they’re just we’ve just done one thing, which in our milk they haven’t done they’re taking the sugar which is lactose, and they’ve split it into its two parts. So it’s two parts joined together, glucose and galactose. And we use a naturally occurring enzyme which is in your gut, also found in nature collect days, and all it does is it splits it down the middle pulls the two sugars apart so they float around separately instead of being together but when they’re separate, they’re three times sweeter than when they’re together. So that’s all we’ve done.
We haven’t added any sugar. We’ve split one big molecule into two and created a sweetness uplift. But as a result of it suddenly becoming sweeter we then add less sugar. That’s how we add 30% Less added sugar because all of the lactose has been broken down to make it sweeter.
Tony skinner 09:47
So there’s 30% Less sugar does that mean i can eat 30% More ice cream.
That’s entirely up to you. I want to answer that question. In terms of total, sugar, we also use a bit less sugar Total in total, because obviously all we’ve done is converted what was counted as sugar into another form of sugar. So, but in no way saying that we still use less irrespective, we use about 16.8% total sugar. And most of the other ice creams out there are using close to 20% in total sugar.
And that has to do with softness and scoop ability and not to do it to do with taste. It’s to do with the functional aspects of ice cream to make it more functional and more skillful. And also helps with a little bit helps with adding additional air to it lots of reasons why they add more sugar. They don’t really need to, and that’s why we don’t.
Tony skinner 10:38
Yeah, exactly. And let’s let’s, I guess get into a little bit of the vegan version of the course. Milk. Is milk vegan?
No, it’s not. No, absolutely not. No. So we do a vegan version of actually can’t call it legally ice cream, you can we can describe it as ice cream. Because the requirement to use the word ice cream on package is must have 10% milk fat. So even if you get less than 10% more fat, you can’t call it ice cream. And then I guess you’d call it gelato. There’s no definition of gelato,whatever you want to call it.
So our vegan is used uses coconut cream as its base. And it’s a dark chocolate we call a dark chocolate truffle because we actually finish it off with cocoa powder at the end. So when you open it up, it’s it’s got a nice sort of dark crust on the top, and also has another great impact in that it actually prevents ice forming on the surface because the ice which are called Iceborn forms on top of ice cream because the air has moisture. And when it hits the cold surface of the ice cream, we can circulate around with that gap. It leaves its moisture dripping around, which then becomes ice.
So if that surface is covered in this case with cocoa powder, the ice cap though the moisture can’t hit the surface and form the ice, because it’s covered. So has that help as well as giving it giving it good preservation. And we’re using it’s dark chocolate, so it’s got 100% Chocolate, as well as cocoa powder. It’s a very strong dark flavor. And we have the most incredible chocolate from Solomon Islands with a company called Solomon’s gold who have set up the business there. They are also have committed to social impact. And they’re also a social enterprise where they are absolutely committed to the local community. They cover health cost, education. They’re you know, a really exceptional company and amazing to work with and their chocolate has happens to be spectacular.
So when I met them, I try their product, I just had to have it. You know, it’s not the cheapest chocolate you can find. But it’s certainly the flavor is amazing. And it really adds to the product. But in addition to that, we also use a first I think in Australia to use what we’re calling an unalkalized cocoa powder. And again, that’s a chemical free cocoa powder. Now kind of how you might think that’s pretty natural.
But most cocoa powders are very acidic, have a yucky aftertaste. And so they use what’s called the Dutch method, which is where you add sodium carbonate to get rid of the acid. It’s basically alkaline it gets added to the acid makes it go away. But it’s a chemical and I don’t want to have any chemicals in my products.
So we use the un alkaline version. In other words, the untreated version, we found a beautiful cocoa powder that’s not bitter and not acidic. And we ship that exclusively into Australia. No one else is doing it. And really, again enhances the flavor that makes sure that we have a chemical free product.
Tony skinner 13:43
Yeah, it’s interesting, I hadn’t really thought about too much about the science of ice cream. But again at home. I remember hearing these recipes about the so called Sugar Free ice creams and so you get all the NutraSweet or whatever it is and you get three times the amount of sugar that you’d need. And then you add alcohol does alcohol. Okay, here we go. Added to ice cream. Keep it soft?
Absolutely. It’s a similar concept to the way you add extra sugar, the alcohol molecules if you like get in between the water and prevents it from freezing. Which is why when you put vodka in the freezer, it doesn’t freeze.
There’s no very limited amount of water in there and the water just cannot freeze it can’t do it. So yeah, alcohol is a really good way of providing softness to your ice cream if we’re going to use sweeteners, in fact that that would be what I would advocate. The other other one that’s quite cool is salt. Salt has a similar effect in preventing the water from finding itself. It does help obviously don’t be too salty.
But alcohol. Yeah, very, very effective at increasing software. So you’re right you’re right on the money there. You’ve got the right advice. If you’re going to use artificial sweeteners to add alcohol to make it go give you the softness that you’re looking for.
Tony skinner 14:59
Are you going to Come up with a alcohol based products.
Look in the future, anything is possible. Again, there are all sorts of laws around that if you have more than 1% booze, it has to be a registered product, it can’t be sold over the counter. So why so yeah, maybe initially a 1% Alcohol version would be okay. Otherwise, you know, the kids can’t have it, you can’t sell it and then not in the supermarket, it causes a lot of problems. But, you know, I would never say never, you know, I personally love doing those kinds of fun things.
And interesting when we were in Italy, I got the award for the best tasting ice cream, which was a chocolate vegan one as well. And it was a blackforest cake, which we did with rum. And it was sensational. And we had chocolate cake in it and cherries, and it was amazing. So I love doing that kind of thing. And I still I still play with those kinds of flavors, even if I can’t manufacture them at this stage.
Tony skinner 15:55
Oh, maybe we should get the recipe.
Yeah, that was good was really good.
Tony skinner 15:59
Yeah, like, rum rum is good. So is there anything else you’d like to share?
Um, look, basically the driver behind all this is giving back and we’re giving half of our profits to Ozharvest because, you know, I love what they do both locally and internationally, both repurposing food and feeding people who are hungry, because they’re not just doing it locally, but they’re also doing it offshore, they’re kind of rolling their model out offshore, which is exceptional. And of course, Ronnie Khan is, you know, an exceptional leader of that group.
So and very warm and welcoming to us. So that’s, for me, that’s the driver is this was all about leveraging my skills to give back. And, you know, that’s, that’s, I think, really the the ethos and the purpose behind the brand. And, you know, I’d love to see other businesses start to take up the mantle and do a similar thing. If they can. That’s our commitment to give back. And you know, it’s a really important part of our business.
Tony skinner 16:59
Yeah, I think that’s really important to give back when you can and we’re now through the other side of what we’ve been going through for two years. So yeah, and we’re heading up to Christmas. So I think this is a great time for people to go and where can we find your products.
So we’re very fortunate we’ve got an amazing distributor, one Dennison, who are distributed nationally. So we’re in over 200 stores nationally, when we’re not quite in, I think we might be heading to the Northern Territory in the ICT, soon, Tasmania, I think they signed a rollout but all the other states, there’s at least 20 or 30, stores per capital city or in the regions.
So they have to go to our website, which is https://elato.com.au/ And we’ve got a stockist list just punch in your postcode or your address and see what’s close. And those store numbers are increasing day by day, because we’re getting really good take up by the retailers.
So yes, I can buy at independent supermarkets, pretty much everywhere, almost totally around the country. So it’s all good
Tony skinner 18:13
Its great to see an independent supporting independence and I think small businesses becoming a bigger movement now rather than the mass produced mass products. And when people start tasting the real thing. Yeah, they won’t go back.
Absolutely. Now we were getting great feedback on the taste, because it’s you know, it’s truly authentic ice cream. Vanilla is a traditional real MA with egg yolk. we infuse it overnight, with ground vanilla bean and little black bits. Absolutely, but lots a lot, a lot more than anyone but those black bits mostly and other products that have to say just added at the end of the process, they’ve got no flavor, they’re just there for look.
Whereas we added right at the beginning when we’re cooking the ice cream and it gets infused overnight. And so it’s you know, it’s a really true vanilla which is why I call it triple vanilla. Plus, obviously we add vanilla essence as well. It’s you know, it’s a really traditional, beautiful rich vanilla. The coffee is also deep and rich. Same thing. We’re using a cold brew infused coffee to create, you know, really deep rich flavor.
Not too much bitterness, because cold brew luckily, kind of helps you avoid the bitterness. So both of those are beautiful, deep, rich infusions with great flavor and great texture. And obviously, the chocolate is you know, a really deep, strong, rich chocolate which, you know, chocolate lovers, I’m told I’m really enjoying.
Tony skinner 19:37
Fantastic. Alright, thank you very much Ross.
And thank you so much for the time and the opportunity.