The high price of electricity “freezes” the ice cubes

This summer’s high temperatures have caught ice makers off guard. When consumer demand is greatest, there are fewer opportunities to acquire them. The mismatch between supply and demand comes from the unusual rise in the price of electricity since the end of last year. Up to six thousand euros could pay a small ice factory to maintain acceptable storage of its merchandise below zero degrees last fall. This is why manufacturers preferred to stop producing as long as the price of electricity did not drop and adapt their storage to lower the electricity bill. What they did not count was that with a summer with mercury in the thermometer so turned.

The director general of the Andalusian Confederation of Food and Perfume Entrepreneurs (CAEA), Álvaro González Zafra, warned the day before yesterday that, given “a certain lack of fluidity” in the supply of ice cubes, “especially in the Horeca channel”, some supermarkets “They have adopted the measure of limiting the number of bags of this product that can be purchased”, with the idea of ​​”guaranteeing the supply of their customers and regular consumers”. Horeca is an acronym for hotels, restaurants and catering, used to refer to the food service industry.

This was indicated by González Zafra in statements to the Europa Press news agency, in which he explained that the “main problem” of the shortage of ice packs in supermarkets is that “d other operators – such as bars and hotels – make an “extraordinary collection” of the product in the face of “the lack of supply in its usual circuits”. For this reason and because of the costs generated by the maintenance of refrigeration equipment and freshness, they asked the central government for “measures to minimize this impact”.

On the other hand, he recalled that commercial distribution “shares the same problems as other agri-food industries”, given that “the increase in energy costs for storage and refrigeration”, both in its stores and in the logistics platforms, “is enormous because of the increase in the price of electricity.

In this regard, he pointed out that his frozen and fresh refrigeration equipment “must be connected 24 hours a day, 365 days a year”. For this reason, he explained that they have asked the central government for “measures to minimize this impact”, in order to be considered as “large energy consumers”. “We are also asking to reduce the VAT on supermarket products in order to minimize the increase in prices of products in the basket and the impact this has on consumers,” he added. Finally, the General Manager of CAEA stressed that they hope and trust that in the coming days “normality can be restored in the sale of ice cubes”.

Does not affect food preservation

“We distribute 24 tons per week, whereas before we distributed 24 tons per day”, explains the manager of the commercial and marketing area of Everest ice cream, Jhonatan Poma, in statements to Onda Cero. This is usually a problem with ice cubes or crushed ice and not so much with ice used to keep fish or other foods cool. Keep in mind there are chains like Makro where they make the shaved ice they need for their fish. “If the summer ends without being able to sell, you will tell me,” laments Poma, who adds that, given this scenario, companies like his have had to force their workers to take vacations: “We have the staff home and vans paralyzed,” he concludes.

Uneven shortages depending on the store

The restricted sale in supermarkets is done more by zones than by food chains. The first to raise the alarm were Mercadona stores, where they warned their customers that they could not take more than five bags or one bag. Same trend at the Valencian brand Consum. However, yesterday in a Mercadona in Alcalá de Guadaíra there were no such limitations. Nor in Dia supermarkets. Antonio Felices is the president of the Andalusian Federation of Gas Stations and comments to this journal that there are limits. “At the gas stations, we asked for a thousand bags for a weekend and they ask us to ‘rationalise’ 600 of them,” he says. He is in favor of not limiting the sale, the first one who arrives takes them. As a home remedy, there are always ice buckets with tap water in the freezer.

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