Nearly three years after it stole the show at CES 2021 with its countertop ice cream machine, ColdSnap has readied itself for a commercial rollout of its system this fall.
In a recent blog post, the company shared a glimpse of the product’s development over the past few years, detailing its pod production capacity expansion, the development of its production partner ecosystem, and the continuing refinement of the ColdSnap machine itself.
According to the company, they’ve expanded their production facility in the Boston suburb of Billerica, adding 20,000 square feet with an additional 24,000 square feet of space leased across the street. After producing their initial batches of liquid in small batches in their test kitchen, the enlarged factory that is part of the company’s headquarters will support 300-gallon batches of their liquid mix that will fill the ColdSnap aluminum cans (think energy drink-size) on-site.
In addition to the company’s ice cream and frozen treat mix production within its own factory, they are working with co-manufacturers to ramp up production. According to ColdSnap, initial tests of its mix showed the product was too thick to flow through the pipes at third-party manufacturers because the liquid was different from commercial ice cream mixes commonly made at manufacturing facilities. The company’s food science team reformulated the mix for production in external factories and for large-scale production in-house.
Another big step towards its commercial launch was the addition of packaging automation. It’s hard to believe, but until now, the company has hand-packaged all of the pods to support the roughly one hundred trial machines in the field. Now, as they look to scale, they’ve added automation equipment and project they will be able to manufacture 30 million pods per year.
ColdSnap also detailed improvements to the countertop machine, including adding a QR code reader that will tell the machine which type of drink it is making and what the company describes as a ‘more powerful’ refrigeration machine.
Part of what makes ColdSnap intriguing is its ability to make instant ice cream from room temperature, shelf-stable liquid. As company CEO Matthew Fonte told me last year, a product like this could be potentially transformative for markets where cold chain storage is not widely available or cost-prohibitive.
“China’s ice cream market is as large as the United States, but they have 25% the amount of refrigeration per capita that we do here in the States,” Fonte said. “If you could circumvent the cold supply chain and give them shelf-stable pods, they can freeze their ice cream on demand, they can reach the masses there and grow that market four times.”
I agree that this type of machine could be really interesting in markets without substantial cold chain storage, my guess is clones would pop up pretty quickly in markets like China once the concept is proven out.
ColdSnap’s initial target is the office and business markets, but in the long term, Fonte says the company will enter the consumer kitchen. He said he’s open to partners for any expansion into the home market, and I’m sure he’ll be able to find him if he and ColdSnap can prove the technology works and there’s demand for it in the commercial space.