ST. GEORGE — Imagine packing a cooler full of yummy things to eat and drink, then heading off on an adventure confident that its contents would remain fresh and ready to provide sustenance. Almost any camper or outdoorsman has likely encountered this problem — you open the cooler only to plunge your hand into a disgusting pool of water. The ice has melted, the meat has leaked its juices onto the produce and the egg carton is a soggy mess.
Utah-based inventor and entrepreneur Bryan Kendrick, founder and CEO of Ice-Olate, has created a simple solution to the pesky problem of melted ice with his innovative product, The Cooler Tray. Both Ice-Olate and The Cooler Tray are trademarked.
Kendrick described the impetus for the product’s invention; in his own words:
Me and my family, we grew up camping and doing stuff in the outdoors, you know, all that fun stuff. It seemed like every time we went on an overnighter, the next day everything that was in the cooler was floating in water; some of the meat juice had leaked out and it was really gross and we had to throw a lot of food away.
After doing that for a couple of decades and having my own family and doing it I thought, ‘there’s got to be a better way.’
Kendrick started drawing up plans for a solution almost 10 years ago, he said, but life took him in a different direction. Then, a few years ago he revisited the idea using 3-D printing and in 2016 he launched The Cooler Tray.
The patented design is a simple, perforated tray that users put into the bottom of their cooler before filling it with food and ice. Small legs on the bottom of the tray allow space below it for the melted ice water to collect and remain separate from the food.
“The product solves a lot of those problems dealing with your food cooler,” Kendrick said. “Your food stays clean, it stays dry … and you save a lot of stress from not having to deal with cleaning up a mess and throwing lots of food away.”
The tray also makes the ice last longer. Results have varied, Kendrick said, but he has seen results that suggest ice will last up to 48 hours longer. This is because the ice is no longer sitting in melted water which causes it to melt faster.
The Cooler Tray was designed to be universal, Kendrick said, meaning it will fit most brand coolers from Igloo and Coleman to Yeti and Grizzly.
The tray adjusts both lengthwise and widthwise and can be used in cooler sizes from 40 quarts up to about 110 quarts.
Additionally, The Cooler Tray is compliant with standards set forth by the Food and Drug Administration. Its design provides enough support for up to 80 pounds of food and beverages.
The tray’s height allows for about 15-20 pounds of ice to melt and collect below the tray without the user having to empty the cooler.
For now, The Cooler Tray can be purchased from Ice-Olate’s website and Amazon online. The product is also available at select Utah grocery chains in northern Utah and at Ace Hardware in Southern Utah; but, Kendrick said, online is the most efficient way to order the tray.
It is Kendrick’s hope to one day have the product be a standard part of every cooler.
Ice-Olate’s goal is to design innovative products that solve real-life problems. Ice-Olate has partnered with Utah-based company Phone Skope, a company that has revolutionized digiscoping adapters for mobile phones.
Phone Skope CEO Cheston Davis said:
When Bryan approached (us) about becoming a partner, I looked at the product and began to think: Does this, one, solve a problem? And, two, is there a market for it? I immediately began to think of countless hunting trips that turned for the worse once my food became waterlogged. Water is evil, it will find its way into anything and this I have experienced firsthand. I instantly thought of a recent hunting trip to the Gila National Forest; I was camping for 16 days, by about day 10, we had plenty of food floating in water. I cut into a tube of ground beef to find the water miraculously found a way into it and spoiled it. Being two hours from a grocery store, I was more upset of the loss of food versus the dollar.
For Davis and Phone Skope, the partnership with Ice-Olate made perfect sense.
“All in all we believe in the product,” Davis said.
Both Phone Skope and Ice-Olate products are manufactured in the United States.
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