First it was toilet paper; later, sunflower oil, and now such a basic and everyday product during the summer as ice cream. In recent weeks, ice cream has become the flagship product for residents of La Rioja, who are leaving supermarkets with little or no supplies at the gates of a third heat wave.
After the previous two that rocked the region, the lack of ice cream supply began to be felt in Riojan supermarkets. The anticipated rise in temperatures that the community has been experiencing since last April has led to excessive consumption of this daily product during the summer season. To this is added the imminent arrival of a third heat wave which will cause thermometers to rise to 40 degrees in parts of the region and as a result, ice cream consumption will skyrocket again.
It is difficult to find a supermarket in La Rioja where you can buy a bag of ice cream for your own consumption. The large food chains in Rioja have chosen to notify their customers in advance of the lack of supply or, in other cases, to ration the purchase of the product per consumer. Supermarket rationing was set at five bags or one bag of ice per customer.
Iñaki Carrillo, distributor of ‘Ice in La Rioja’, confirms that “there is indeed a lack of product in supermarkets due to the low supply and high demand that currently exists”.
The production and storage of ice begins to take place between the months of February and March. The increase in the prices of electricity and oil derivatives due to the conflict in Ukraine are two of the main factors for the shortage of this product which is so popular in the summer. “The high costs of production, storage and distribution have led companies to accumulate very little product, a quantity that we now have for the whole summer”, explains the employee.
In addition, he points out that the return to normality – festivals and summer parties – has been another fundamental factor in this lack of supply: “After the two years of the pandemic, the festivals have returned and the nightlife is skyrocketing, so the excessive and mass consumption of ice cream too”.
Producers and distributors have already started to take action, including reducing and limiting orders to food chains so as not to leave the hospitality industry without supplies. “From this week, we will have to reduce orders at supermarkets, otherwise the hospitality industry would not be able to meet the demand for ice cream.”
However, the forecast for August is not encouraging either. “There is no ice. The little that has been made is already sold and the little ice that there is must be rationed and distributed “judiciously” to guarantee the product in the hotel industry and nightlife” , admits Carrillo. Although he explains that “big companies are ordering in droves from other parts of Europe to get more product coverage” and from September the sector expects to return to normal.