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ColdSnap is a Keurig-like ice cream machine for soft serving



A new machine called ColdSnap, which looks and works like a Keurig for soft-served ice cream, has emerged as one of the liveliest products from this year’s all-digital CES technology show. At a time when much of the event, like much of our lives, is focused on ways to adapt to the pandemic, ColdSnap offers the promise of something sweeter as needed.

The system is marketed as taking shelf-stable, reusable ice pods with different flavors and freezing them at approx. 90 seconds before being handed out in a cup or cone. The company also works on pods for smoothies, frozen coffees, protein shakes, non-dairy ice creams and frozen cocktails, such as mud glasses and daiquiris. The machine reads a QR code on top of the pod label to find the specific freezing temperature for each product.

The product, which is only in the prototype phase with plans to be launched at selected locations in the second quarter of 2021

and will be sent directly to consumers early next year, falls under where has this been all my life? category. But the price point is less sweet than the product: $ 1,000. (The company said it eventually aims to bring it down by half.)

Matthew Fonte, the serial entrepreneur behind the product, said it has been a big task to create pods that are safe, convenient (small cleanup), cost-effective and sustainable; the bellows containers are aluminum like a soda. Keurig and other disposable manufacturers have long been criticized for their inability to recycle their products.

ColdSnap, a Keurig system for software, is expected to start delivery early next year

“This is challenging and requires significant expertise in development and engineering,” said Fonte, who has a PhD. in Mechanical Engineering from Tufts University. “In the beginning, many did not think so [scientifically] possible to create ice cream like this in a minute or so. “

The company says that the machine simultaneously draws heat from the bellows, which creates a cooling effect on the liquid ice mixture and engages a part inside the bellows that grunts the ingredients during the cooling process. Air is sucked into the can to create the necessary ceiling in the ice.

The idea started many years ago when Fonte and his two daughters got tired of reading the same books at bedtime and decided to write in “invention magazines.”

“We included new toys, toothbrushes and hoola braces,” he told CNN Business. “And one day they asked for an ice machine.”

He explained that home ice machines are not typically efficient; many require a bucket to be frozen overnight, a smooth mixing process and is a mess to clean up. “How about a Keurig ice cream machine?” asked a daughter.

The rest is strawberries.

Fonts background played a significant role in starting the process. He and his brother worked with their father, an Italian immigrant, for 20 years in a metalworking business, producing rocket engine boxes for missiles. After selling the company, they started another with a focus on superelastic orthopedic implants. His team from that company later teamed up to start ColdSnap.

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“It has been really fun with my daughters who have seen the whole start of starting a business, buying a 2,500 square foot building, getting patents, and they have shares in the business,” he said. “I have explained how investors invest in us and how we can not fail them.”

The company has since grown into an 18-person team. Despite the high price, Fonte said the company has “thousands” of sign-ups from people to buy the product. “Sometimes we get notes on our site that just say, ‘Hurry up. I need this.'”

Keurig-inspired ice machines are not brand new. LG demonstrated a frozen yogurt pod prototype, called SnowWhite, at the SXSW conference in Austin in 2019, and startup Wim Yogurt developed a $ 299 frozen yogurt machine but suspended operations in 2018. Meanwhile, traditional home ice machines can cost less than $ 100.
The cost of the ColdSnap system may be reminiscent of Juicero, the $ 400 Internet-connected Keurig-to-squeeze-juice system backed by Google and others. It received $ 120 million in capital, but ultimately failed largely because of the price point, with many saying Silicon Valley was out of touch with the rest of the country. There were also reports that customers could get the same result by squeezing the start-up juice packs with bare hands as with the machine.

ColdSnap, however, was originally intended for commercial spaces such as break rooms in offices, car dealerships and student associations. When Covid hit earlier last year, the company focused again. Fonte said he aims to take the price down to $ 500 by switching stainless steel parts to plastic fixtures. The bellows cost $ 2.99 each when launched.

Keurig-like spinoffs are plentiful, ranging from grafted coffee and podcocktails to podcookies. ColdSnap claims that its product is a much cleaner game because of the recyclable aluminum bellows that look like Red Bull cans and the process of keeping the ice cold inside the trucks that then transport it.

Judging from the enthusiastic response, it seems that people still want a product like this to become a reality. Fonte said U.S. interest is high, but he also sees opportunities in places like India and China where the cold supply chain is tainted and could benefit from an on-demand system like ColdSnap.

“We hope that maybe one day, in 20 years, people will look back and say, ‘Remember, ice cream was frozen all the time. How crazy is that?'”

Perhaps innovation is a dish best served cold.


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