Alter Eat-o: Foods for Keto began as a diet change for Leslie Lang, who over the course of a few years grew into a bustling commercial kitchen based in Guelph, manufacturing and delivering keto foods throughout Ontario.
“My husband and I started a keto lifestyle,” says Lang, describing the ketogenic diet as low-carb foods with higher amounts of healthy fats and no added sugars.
“I wanted to take familiar recipes that I loved and make them keto-friendly, so I started making them and sharing them with my family and friends.”
The company was officially launched in 2018 and started taking online orders in February 2019.
Business partner Molly Hutchinson came on board in the summer of 2020 and the company now employs 12 people.
For some people, the idea of eating more fat runs counter to how they were taught (or not) to eat.
There’s a misconception about a ketogenic diet: It’s carte blanche to gnaw on bacon all day, swallow sticks of butter, and eat half sides of fatty red meat.
Lang says that’s wrong.
“It’s about balance,” she says of keto.
“It’s higher in daily grams of healthy fats like avocado, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and whole dairy products. Then moderate protein and reduce carbs. »
The trick for Lang and Hutchinson is adapting recipes from their wide range of foods — including keto poutine — for customers. This means using inventive culinary techniques such as using nuts, for example, for recipes.
Currently, Alter Eat-o offers approximately 100 products to wholesale and retail operations — and busy online sales — conducted in their 1,500 square foot production and customer meeting facility (open Wednesday through Saturday afternoon) in a residential area of central Guelph.
“We want to grow our restaurant business so customers can go to their favorite burger joint and grab a keto bun,” says Hutchinson.
“We want keto to be as accessible as gluten-free and vegan are now.”
Alter Eat-o pizza crusts are currently available at a few small pizza places.
In their kitchen retail area, entrees, breads and sweets fill the freezers: truffles, chocolate squares, strudel, hand pies and danishes are sold along with the pizzas, lasagna and “meatball cheese bombs”. of meat” extremely popular.
Eggs, cheeses, seeds, and seasonings combine to make lasagna noodles, a labor-intensive and time-consuming task.
“It takes us about two days from start to finish to make the lasagna noodles,” says Lang. “Pasta and pizza are by far the best sellers.”
Hutchinson says that for people trying to cook and eat keto at home, it’s hard to get candy. Watching staffer Ayla Haddad pack a table full of squares and brownies, the demand is evident.
However, I visited keto ice cream, an extremely popular item that uses natural flavors and real ingredients.
Made from small-batch bases that “harden” for 24 hours and churned in a commercial machine, the keto ice cream, using xylitol to add sweetness, has only been on sale for a few months.
“Making small batches is inspiring,” says Lang.
“Today it’s root beer float ice cream and buttered pecans. There are as many flavors as there are weeks in summer.
Strawberry Shortcake, Salted Caramel, Classic Vanilla and Rocky Road are just a few examples, with three to four varieties available each week.
“The flavors stand out,” says Hutchinson.
“Our ice cream is not just sweet.”
True; and they feature good texture and mouthfeel — and that helps them come off the shelf, according to Lang.
“We only make ice cream from May to September. People are waiting for him. They were chomping at the bit when May arrived.
Andrew Coppolino is a Kitchener-based food writer and host. Visit him at andrewcoppolino.com.