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ColdSnap is similar to the Keurig sweet ice cream machine

A new machine called ColdSnap, which looks and functions like Keurig for sweet ice cream, has emerged as one of the most tumultuous products at this year’s all-digital CES technology show. At a time when much of the event, as well as much of our lives, is focused on ways to adapt to the pandemic, ColdSnap offers the promise of something sweeter on demand.

The system is marketed by taking stable, recyclable ice cream pods with different flavors and freezing them for about 90 seconds before distributing them in a cup or cone. The company also works on smoothie pods, frozen coffees, protein shakes, non-dairy ice cream and frozen cocktails, such as mud slides and daiquiri. The device reads the QR code at the top of the pod label to find the specific freezing temperature for each product.

The product, which is only at the prototype stage with plans to launch in selected places in the second quarter of 2021

and send directly to consumers early next year, falls into where has this been all my life? category. But the price point is less sweet than the product: $ 1,000. (The company said it was trying to halve it.)

Matthew Fonte, the serial entrepreneur behind the product, said it was a great undertaking to create pods that are safe, comfortable (little cleaning), cost-effective and sustainable; the pod containers are aluminum like soda. Keurig and other manufacturers of disposable pods have long been criticized for failing to recycle their products.

ColdSnap, Keurig's software ice cream system, is expected to start shipping early next year

“It’s a challenge and requires significant development and engineering knowledge,” said Fonte, who has a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Tufts University. “In the beginning, a lot of people didn’t think so [scientifically] it is possible to create such ice cream in about a minute or so. “

The company says the machine simultaneously draws heat from the pod, creating a cooling effect on the liquid ice cream mixture and activating a part of the pod that stirs the ingredients during the cooling process. The air is sucked into the box to make the necessary attic in the ice cream.

The idea began 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’ve included new toys, toothbrushes and hoops,” he told CNN Business. “One day they asked for an ice cream machine.”

He explained that ice cream machines for the home are usually not effective; many require a bucket to be frozen overnight, a consistent mixing process and are a mess to clean. “What about the Keurig ice cream machine?” A daughter asked.

The rest is histrawberry.

Fonte’s background played a significant role in starting the process. He and his brother worked with their father, an Italian immigrant, for 20 years in the metalworking business, producing rocket hulls for rocket engines. After selling the business, they started another, focused on super elastic orthopedic implants. Later, his team from this company left together to launch ColdSnap.

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“It was really fun with my daughters, who saw the whole beginning of starting a company, buying a 2,500-square-foot building, getting patents, and they have stakes in the company,” he said. “I explain how investors invest in us and how we can’t mislead them.”

Since then, the company has grown to a team of 18 people. Despite the high price, Fonte said the company has “thousands” of registrations from people to purchase the product. “Sometimes we get notes on our website that just say, ‘Hurry up.’ I need this. ”

Keurig-inspired ice cream machines are not entirely new. LG demonstrated a prototype of a frozen yogurt pod system called SnowWhite at the 2019 SXSW conference in Austin, and startup Wim Yogurt developed a frozen yogurt machine for $ 299, but stopped working in 2018. Meanwhile, traditional machines for ice cream at home can cost less than $ 100.
The price of the ColdSnap system may evoke memories of Juicero, the network-connected $ 400 Keurig-for-juices 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 have also been reports that customers can get the same result by squeezing the starter packs with bare hands as with the machine.

However, ColdSnap was originally designed for commercial spaces such as rest rooms in offices, car dealerships and student unions. When Covid hit earlier last year, the company refocused. Fonte said he was aiming to lower the price to $ 500 by replacing stainless steel parts with plastic bodies. The pods will cost $ 2.99 each when launched.

Keurig-like spinoffs abound, ranging from coffee beans and cocktails from pods to cookies. ColdSnap claims that its product is much cleaner because of the recyclable aluminum pods that look like Red Bull cans and the process of keeping the ice cream cold in the trucks that then transport it.

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

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

Perhaps innovation is the dish that is best served cold.

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