Gelato overtakes ice cream as low-calorie alternative

By Sadie Whitelocks

Forget the 99 Flake, it seems that the health-conscious British are hankering after a healthier sweet treat.

Taking the UK by storm, gelato has become the latest confectionery craze for the calorie counters.

Originally from Italy the frozen dessert which contains around half the fat content found in traditional ice cream has become a booming industry.

 With the nation’s diet scrutinized over recent years – driven by initiatives such as Jamie Oliver’s school dinner campaign – a plethora of healthy food ranges have flooded the market and it seems gelato has hit the spot.
 In London alone around 80 stores have opened in the past two years including GINO off Covent Garden, Carlo de Mistro’s chain Gelato Mio and Antonio Federici, which flavours ranging from Panna Cotta to Pistachio are now sold in Waitrose, Harrods and Sainsbury’s.
Its origination has been hotly debated but it is thought that the recipe dates back to ancient Rome and Egypt where frozen desserts were created from ice mixed with honey or nectar.
Health benefits: Gelato only contains six to seven per cent fatHealth benefits: Gelato only contains six to seven per cent fat

A spokesperson at GINO told MailOnline: ‘Gelato really has been the flavour this summer.

‘With so many tourists and a change of taste in British palates, we have not only seen an increase in trade, but also an increased demand for the more unusual flavours that we serve such as Vin Santo e Cantucci (Italian Wine and Biscuits) and Chocolate & Chianti.’

Meanwhile Matt O’Connor, creative director at Federici confirmed that the health benefits are a definite plus for customers.

He told The Independent that gelato only ‘contains six to seven per cent fat, while American ice creams tend to contain between 12 and 16 per cent.’

Other areas of the UK have also succumb to the surge in demand and Morelli’s, in Boradstairs, Kent has reported a 100 per cent rise in sales since 2009.

Owner Bibi Morelli – the fifth generation of her family to make a living from making frozen desserts  – has witnessed the growth in popularity which has enabled her to expand her single UK gelato store into a global brand.

She said: ‘An ice cream that’s made possibly six months ago and then deep-frozen can’t compare in taste with something that’s been
freshly made that day.

It’s like the difference in taste between fresh soup and canned.’

Some have even suggested that the trend for the Italian delicacy will see gelaterias replace coffee bars on the UK high street.

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