Cauliflower rice? Sure. Cauliflower cheese? Even better. But cauliflower ice-cream?
Kiwi start-up EatKinda has launched the first-ever commercially-made cauliflower ice-cream nationwide via Hell Pizza, with two flavours to choose from: Mint Choc Bikkie and Strawberry Swirl.
The humble vegetable is the hero ingredient in the plant-based offering, which is made from cauliflowers that would otherwise go to waste due to aesthetic imperfections.
EatKinda is the brainchild of Jenni Matheson and Mrinali Kumar, a duo who started making ice-cream at the kitchen bench - but are now scaling up to commercial production to take their plant-based creation nationwide.
A vegan of more than 20 years, Matheson first concocted her cauliflower ice-cream recipe while attempting to use up leftover vegetables from her garden.
"After initially trying pumpkin and other vegetables I had grown, it quickly became clear that cauliflower was the perfect base. It has a beautiful texture without an overpowering taste, meaning you can create flavours easily," she said in a statement.
Matheson took her recipe to a start-up weekend in Taranaki in 2020, where she met Kumar, who was completing a Bachelor of Food Technology at Massey University. The pair subsequently decided to launch EatKinda with a focus on premium plant-based ice-cream intended to not compromise on taste or texture.
Kumar said they use "rescued" cauliflower whenever possible, given a large amount of New Zealand's crops don't make it to the shelves due to cosmetic imperfections.
"Apart from being the wrong size, an odd colour, or not pretty enough for the supermarkets, the cauli we use is completely fine to eat. We source it from suppliers including Perfectly Imperfect, a social enterprise that saves cosmetically imperfect food from rotting in the ground. It's a win-win for everyone," she said.
Callum Davies, the founder of Hell Pizza and a proponent for plant-based alternatives, said the team was amazed by the creamy deliciousness of the cauliflower recipe.
"It sounds like it will be good for you but not tasty yet we were blown away and knew we had to offer it to our customers. We're always pushing the envelope in offering plant-based alternatives and think people will be just in love with it as we are. It's a pretty sweet aftertaste knowing that it's dairy-free and uses rescued cauliflower," he said.
Supporting EatKinda aligns with Hell's ethos of sustainability and fighting food waste, CEO Ben Cumming added, noting a key aim has been to introduce plant-based alternatives.
"For us, it's about showing people that being kinder to the planet doesn't mean compromising on taste."
EatKinda's Strawberry Ripple and Mint Choc Bikkie ice-creams are available at Hell's Pizza nationwide.