Inventherm, a premier Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based applied research and product development firm recently received a $100,000 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to develop its innovative CremmjoyTM Soft-Serve Ice Cream Machine for use in the restaurant and retail sector. Inventherm was one of only 11 U.S. small businesses and the only Louisiana business awarded funding in an announcement by the USDA.
“NIFA’s Small Business Innovation Research program stimulates technological innovations in the private sector and strengthens the role of federal research and development in support of small businesses,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “These investments will help our nation’s small businesses improve food science and nutrition through a variety of early-stage research and development projects.”
“Cremmjoy machines freeze and dispense soft-serve ice cream from consumable packaging. From liquid mix through dispensing, the soft serve mix never touches any part of the machine,” said Inventherm President and Cremmjoy Founder, Dr. Jason Hugenroth. “This seemingly simple concept actually requires a paradigm shift in the established ice cream freezing process. This innovation eliminates the need for machine disassembly, cleaning, and sanitizing by restaurants and retailers and dispenses the safest-to-eat, premium quality ice cream or slush products to consumers.”
With current commercial soft-serve machines in use today, restaurants and retailers notoriously must disconnect the machines and mark as out-of-service while they disassemble, clean, and sanitize all parts of the machine that contact liquid mix or frozen product. Inventherm’s Cremmjoy machines eliminate the disassembly, cleaning, and sanitization (DCS) process while producing safe, contamination-free soft-serve, and slashing annual operating costs by several thousand dollars per machine.
Improperly cleaned soft serve ice cream machines are a known significant contributor to foodborne illnesses worldwide. Studies indicate that unsatisfactory levels of bacterial contamination can be present in up to 50% of the soft serve ice cream machines in use globally. Contamination issues are due largely to the complex and costly DCS process required for all machines currently on the market. The DCS process can cost businesses thousands of dollars for each machine per year in wasted product, labor, and supplies.
While not the focus of the current development phase, Inventherm's technology can also be applied for producing sterile saline slush, which is used in surgical procedures for reducing tissue damage. With Phase I SBIR assistance, Inventherm has demonstrated that its Cremmjoy technology produces premium quality soft serve and slush beverages. Continuing Phase 1 work is focused partly on prototype systems for field testing.
Inventherm seeks to raise $1.1 million in additional seed-stage funding, including private investments and grants to commercialize the Cremmjoy soft-serve and slush machines and disrupt the nearly $1 billion global soft-serve market and $1 billion global frozen beverage market. Interested investors may email Inventherm’s consultant and Chief Development Officer, Danny Fields, CFRE, of Daniel J. Fields Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org.