Among dessert items, ice cream ranks one of the most popular frozen treats in the United States. Over the past several years, the ice cream industry has consistently produced well over 1 billion gallons of ice cream each year with the average person consuming 6 gallons yearly. The ice cream industry, for the most part, uses traditional methods for making ice cream; however, the recent rise of 3D printing in the food industry has allowed for 3D printed ice cream, cones, and gelato to break through. New 3D printing methods being utilized by chefs, engineers, and businesses have allowed for new food products to be developed, creating opportunities for valuable R&D Tax Credits.
The Research & Development Tax Credit
Enacted in 1981, the federal Research and Development (R&D) Tax Credit allows a credit of up to 13 percent of eligible spending for new and improved products and processes. Qualified research must meet the following four criteria:
- New or improved products, processes, or software
- Technological in nature
- Elimination of uncertainty
- Process of experimentation
Eligible costs include employee wages, cost of supplies, cost of testing, contract research expenses, and costs associated with developing a patent. On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the bill making the R&D Tax Credit permanent. Beginning in 2016, the R&D credit can be used to offset Alternative Minimum tax and startup businesses can utilize the credit against $250,000 per year in payroll taxes.
Robots in Gastronomy
Robots in Gastronomy is a Barcelona-based research group specializing in additive manufacturing for food products. The group created a 3D printer called the FoodForm that is capable of printing soft-serve ice cream in simple shapes such as a star, a swirled circle, and other shapes. The FoodForm can print delicate ice cream treats with a high rate of precision and is even capable of catering to personalized and custom treats.
Pixsweet is a Los Angeles-based company focused on customizing and personalizing nearly anything into a 3D printed popsicle. Pixsweet began using 3D printing as a way to supply local stores with options that can be both affordable and more original than the average ice cream snack. The company uses their own 3D printing technology to combine raw food materials with virtually any image found online to create a charming and tasty frozen treat.
MELT is a new company based in Amsterdam, Netherlands focused on creating the Icepop Generator 3D printer for specially designed on-site ice creams. The idea behind the 3D printer development is that it can be used at festivals and events where visitors can draw up their own design, at which point the Icepop Generator 3D printer will drill a sculpture into a block of ice. The unique 3D printer is actually a CNC machine that features a built-in glass freezer to allow full visibility of how the ice cream is made.
Drip Drop is a Denver startup that uses 3D printing to develop molds for a one of a kind ice cream cone. The Drip Drop cone is a circular ice cream cone to prevent excessive dripping from frozen treats. Drip Drop is working with mold manufacturers and 3D printers to develop silicone templates of the cone, soon to be available for wholesale and retail across the country.
Dream Pops is a Los Angeles-based company that deploys all-natural ingredients for ice cream into 3D printing to create a delicious and nutritional popsicle. Dream Pops consistently strives to develop new popsicle designs never before seen and enlist the help of an Ultimaker 2 3D printer, which creates the unique silicone molds that will form the ice cream.
The future of 3D printing looks increasingly brighter as the use of additive manufacturing is expanding into numerous fields, especially the culinary industry. Companies are adopting 3D printing techniques and adding their own innovation to further drive the seemingly endless possibilities provided by 3D printing. Continuous experimentation has brought incredible culinary results as now even real ice cream is capable of being produced along with a plethora of other complex foods with the potential to change our entire food landscape and how we think about food.
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Charles Goulding & Ryan Donley of R&D Tax Savers discuss 3D printed ice cream.