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Quality ice cream is a matter of labels

Like with all foods, the quality of an ice cream can be discerned by reading its label. An expert explains how to do this, and tells us how their company steers clear of chemicals, using only natural ingredients to produce an excellent and “free” ice cream.

Setting high standards when it comes to food quality begins with reading product labels correctly. Certifications, ingredients, nutritional values, conditions of use and conservation, provenance and the expiration date are just some of the details included on labels, which act as a sort of product ID. This is a very useful tool for those who wish to make conscientious choices as to what to eat, as well as allowing manufacturers to share their products’ characteristics, adopting a policy of total transparency with their customers.

Read more: A good ice cream parlour must have more than just good ice cream

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If the label is transparent, when we purchase products we can make conscientious choices © Ingimage

How to read ice cream labels

The rules for food labelling in the European Union (regulation 1169/2011, which replaced previous laws that were more fragmented) also apply to ice cream. And because no one can resist its refreshing goodness, we asked an expert to help us understand how to read its label and recognise a quality product. Francesca Trainotti is head of quality control at Galatea, Italian company specialised in the production of semi-finished products for ice creams. She explains that, “when we purchase an ice cream, the first thing we should do is read the ingredients list: ice cream parlours must display it and declare the presence of any allergens”. “What makes the difference is whether or not the product contains chemicals, such as additives, thickeners and artificial colours. Also check for emulsifiers, fatty acids and processed components. Generally, these ingredients are the ones with the longest names or those marked with the letter E, even though this isn’t always the case”.

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Ice cream parlours must display the ingredients list of their ice creams © Ingimage

No chemicals, just nature

Galatea has always strived to stay at pace with the legislative framework by adjusting its recipes accordingly. In 2006 it adopted “clean labels”, making all useful information easy to understand and getting rid of any ambiguous terms. “We simply consider it an act of honesty towards whoever chooses our products and a way of showing that we have nothing to hide in the way we work,” the company states. Since its founding in the province of Treviso in northeastern Italy in 2003, Galatea has been producing ice cream and artisanal pastry products that are healthy, respect all the key timely traditions as well as the well-being of people and the environment, and has been engaged in research and development activities on corporate social responsibility and sustainability. For example, Galatea steers clear of hydrogenated fats and artificial colours like cochineal: “We mainly use natural ingredients like plant extracts and concentrates,” Trainotti explains. An example? Mint flavoured ice cream that is naturally green by combining spirulina algae extract, which is blue, and safflower, a yellow, scented plant.

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Galatea’s mint flavoured ice cream is naturally dyed using spirulina © Galatea

Free, vegan, organic and ethical: Galatea’s products

These are the considerations that led to the creation of many Galatea products, such as the Libera line, called this way because it is “free” from non-natural ingredients; the Organic line, which contains at least 95 per cent organic ingredients; the Vegan line, which doesn’t contain animal-based products and coadjuvants, or raw materials obtained from genetically modified organisms; and the Ethical line of nutritionally healthy and balanced products that are free from hydrogenated fats.

La linea Libera di Galatea contiene solo ingredienti naturali ©Galatea
Galatea’s Libera (“free”) line only contains natural ingredients © Galatea

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