Alokino Gelato

overall rating:

1.9

planets

Ines De Gruchy
2/27/2022
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I am a real lover of ice cream, in particular gelato to the point I brought a freezer for my tiny university room this term just so I can happily eat ice cream every day. Unfortunately I have not had a chance to try this specific brand of gelato as I live in the UK and this is an American brand but it does look delicious so let’s examine its sustainability!

 

Alokino gelato was set up in 2020 in Los Angeles and produces plant-based vegan gelato using only natural ingredients. Their central focus is on celebrating nature and having low environmental impacts. Their recipes focus on using only raw/ low- processed ingredients with no preservatives, artificial dyes or highly processed ingredients in any phase of the production line- following Italian traditional methods. Alokino gelato takes an active part in Green Future Project promising to plant one tree for every four pints purchased to offset their carbon emissions. As of 18thFebruary, 400 trees had been planted offsetting 5.55 tons of co2. As part of this movement Alokino Gelato also promised to plant one mangrove on the west coast of Madagascar for every 4 pints of ice-cream purchased in the hope to offset carbon emissions. The company is actively involved in helping support sustainability efforts in the area they are based for example by organising and promoting beach clean ups. The price for one tub of this gelato is £12 on Uber eats!!! This is extremely expensive and even for a lower carbon footprint than other brands im not sure people would be willing to pay this price.  

 

What it's made of:

2

Focusing on one of their most popular flavours ‘Banana dates and almonds’ this flavour’s ingredients include: almond milk (water, almonds, calcium carbonate, sunflower lecithin, sea salt, potassium citrate, natural flavours, locust bean gum and gellan gum), dry dates, banana, vegetable glycerin, vegetal protein (organic yellow pea protein isolate), erythritol and tara gum. Guar Gum and Tara Gum are made from the seeds of the Indian cluster bean plant and the seed of the Tara Tree which is predominantly grown in Peru so without detail about where these ingredients are sourced we have to assume Peru which would require transportation producing carbon emissions. The company promises they source all fruit locally (within 250 miles of their kitchen) reducing emissions and fuel required. In general almonds require vast volumes of water and are most commonly produced in California- 81% of almonds globally. A single almond takes about 1.1 gallons of water to produce and since globally we are facing a water crisis this is unsustainable. A change to a different vegan milk would be advisable to reduce the company’s environmental impact for example oat milk has a smaller carbon footprint. 

 

Overall they do promise to try to use local and organic ingredients where possible choosing Non GMO options however some of the ingredients used to make this product have naturally high carbon footprints requiring huge volumes of water preventing a completely perfect rating.

 

How it's made:

1.5

Packaging

All their packaging is plastic free and recyclable including the ink used for messaging. However there is no detail on the material used for the packaging which creates ambiguity and therefore does not guarantee sustainability. 

 

Delivery 

The main problem in their company’s model is the reliance on delivery services such as Uber Eats. These companies use motorbikes and cars which use petrol. The company does have bikes that they cycle along beaches selling the ice-cream but most sales come via these external delivery services. Perhaps this reliance on external delivery companies rather than stocking supermarkets was because of COVID restrictions and difficulty getting into shops or maybe this is just the majority of how Americans order their groceries- however this is all speculation. The offsetting of carbon isn’t clearly covering these carbon emissions and by using these external delivery services the problem of emissions seems to no longer be the company’s problem but I would argue it is directly their problem and their carbon emissions. By providing their own delivery services they would control the number of journeys made trying to reduce the number with each journey making more than one stop and then the fuels used could be counted and offset. 

 

Who makes it:

1.8

There is no information about how the workers are treated however with a team of 6 employees and such a sustainable and positive ethos I don’t think working conditions pose a huge concern however greater transparency here would be useful. 

 

They have a primary factory in Los Angeles and the delivery services only deliver within the US which prevents the carbon emissions accelerating if overseas orders were occurring. There is a lack of information on how the products are transported and kept cold which all will produce carbon emissions but the company seem to be avoiding the responsibility of delivery. 

 

Overall the company produces sustainable products with a focus on using local ingredients and offsetting carbon emissions however I think the main flaw in the company’s sustainability model is the delivery services. The individual deliveries require more fuel than supplying supermarkets with bulk orders. Therefore due to the delivery choices their rating has been lowered.