Healthy and gelato are not generally two words you see in the same sentence. But ‘Glovely’, a new ice cream that uses kefir, a probiotic superfood, makes everyone’s favourite treat healthier.

Like many of us, Glovely founder, Maria Glover wanted to improve her health. The former environmental engineer had a sugar addiction, and so about 12 months ago began researching food and its link to gut health and inflammation. In the process she discovered kefir.

So, what exactly is kefir and how does it go with gelato?

“Kefir is a grain,” Maria explains. “When combined with milk it ferments. The result is a creamy, high probiotic product that tastes like fizzy yoghurt.” To make Glovely, Maria pairs kefir with rice malt syrup, a natural sugar source made from organic brown rice, real fruits and cacao and the delicious result is a lush, full-flavoured gelato. One that also just happens to have amazing health benefits.

She knows it is not possible for gelato to be completely good for you. It is a treat after all. But, she says, “the probiotic benefits of kefir far outweigh the fact that there is some sugar in it. When you combine our natural, organic sugar source with kefir, our gelato is as healthy as it can get!”

Maria, originally from Ireland, was inspired to create Glovely when she came across an ice cream using kefir as its main ingredient from back home. Intrigued, she started experimenting with different recipes. She reasoned that many people, like her, were trying to live healthier and more balanced lives. So instead of labelling foods as good or bad, Maria decided to make one of the foods we love to eat, healthier, and she has done so without compromising on taste, texture or enjoyment. Now, one year later, “here I am at Rocket Seeder!” she says.

It may seem like there is a lot of hype around fermented food products and probiotics at the moment, with kombucha and kimchi on seemingly every cafe menu. The reality is, however, that these types of foods have been an integral part of Eastern European and Asian food culture for thousands of years. But probiotics are not just the latest food fad buzz-word. There’s now a growing body of research in the scientific community detailing the importance of gut health and the implication of its balance in overall health.

“Kefir is loaded with probiotics and has lots of anti-inflammatory properties,” Maria says. “It contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria and is a good source of protein, calcium, potassium and B vitamins.” She says the key health benefits of kefir are its role in creating balance in the gut which leads to overall improvement in gut health. And a healthier gut means a healthier immune system, better moods and even a better regulation of weight.

Maria has named her brand Glovely: ‘G’ for gut-loving goodness. ‘Lovely’ for the luscious, creamy, fresh gelato. And of course, it’s a play on her surname Glover, reflecting the brand’s family business roots.

Maria’s goal is to stock Glovely in specialty grocery and food stores. She’d also like to explore the possibility of stocking restaurants and cafes. “It’s definitely a niche product. I don’t see myself going supermarket-style big just yet,” Maria says. “But who knows in the future!”

For Maria, the Rocket Seeder program has been fantastic for her professional development, particularly the mentoring.

“It’s also been wonderful being part of a founder group and a community,” she says. Additionally, the program has helped her understand Glovely’s target market which has been hugely beneficial. She says, “The program has helped me get my head around the value proposition and shape the message. I couldn’t have done this alone.”