Ice block making business that people tend to look down on is now a very lucrative business, especially due to the intense heat being experienced in the metropolitan part of the FCT and its environs coupled with current restricted power situation across the country. ADEOLA AKINBOBOLA, writes.
The high demand for ice blocks for cooling foods and drinks has created a booming business opportunity in cities, towns and villages across the country.
An ice block dealer, Madam Grace Okezie in an interview with Business Starter explained that compared to before, the sale of ice blocks has increased due to sufficient power supply in her area to boost her business.
According to her, she now makes a sale of N150, 000 to N200,000 profit monthly, adding that it is a business whose returns on investment (ROI) is highly guaranteed.
She said this means one can make returns on their investment in a reasonably short time after starting-up an ice block making business, especially during the peak period.
Consumption of ice block
On the consumption of Ice blocks, Grace said they live in a very hot environment and so “we consume lots of liquid/drinks. Except on medical grounds, every Nigerian would prefer cold drinks to warm drinks any time, any day.
“People who run businesses that deal on drinks will attest to the fact that customers will always demand for chilled drinks and when you can give them chilled drinks at every point, then you will be their first port of call as long as drinks is concerned.
She said though in some parts of Abuja , some ice block dealers still lament lack power as not all them can afford to run generators endlessly adding that with the epileptic power supply and high cost of fuel in the country, it is next to impossible to achieve this feat without extra exorbitant running costs which may likely put an entrepreneur out of business; hence they need ice-blocks to cool to get their drinks chilled.
Meeting the demand for ice
Madam Grace maintains that she has a 15-tonne ice machine. When running at full capacity, it can produce fifteen 50kg sacks of cylindrical ice cubes in an hour.
While she is happy with the customers they have secured, the demand is nowhere near enough to exhaust the capacity of the machine.
“At the moment we are not even running it for five full hours to meet the demand. In future, we might look at expanding and installing a 20-tonne machine, but not yet.”
She said has a delivery van, which it uses to deliver ice to its customers using Igloo coolers. “We don’t yet have a refrigerated truck for deliveries. The coolers we currently use are sufficient as the ice lasts up to three days”.
“For the moment, we are trying to capture as much of the Lagos market as possible,” she notes. “We have had customers asking when we will expand to Kaduna or Nasarrawa, but the market here is not yet saturated.”
She believes this move will likely come only in three to five years as it would mean that a separate factory would have to be set up to serve as a hub for deliveries.
“I am looking at Nasarrawa because they don’t have any ice factories there. They produce only the long ice blocks, so there is opportunity.”
Sales channels and being available 24/7
Most of her orders and sales come from Instagram followers via direct messages or WhatsApp.
“I keep telling people, ice is like the life of the party. You can’t have a lounge or a club and serve warm drinks. We often get last-minute emergency calls when the ice runs out.
“We’ve always advertised that we are open and available 24/7. I have orders still coming in at 01:00 and then I can be chatting to another customer at 05:00,” she says.
Diversification on the cards
“There is a general consumer trend towards healthier living and eating, as well as exercising,” she said.
This is a space where she feels the brand is poised to gain more customers if it expands its product offering. However, it won’t simply be other shapes or sizes of ice.
“We are currently looking at bottled alkaline water under the same brand name. I think this is a good opportunity,” she reveals and adds that in future, she may consider entering the lounge or restaurant sector with an offering of its own.
Business opportunities in ice block production business in Nigeria
1). Sale And Distribution Of Ice Cube:
A lot of small-scale restaurants cannot afford to buy a generator or a fridge, and they also need to offer chilled refreshments to their customers. Ice block sellers are their go-to for their chilled drink needs.
Thanks to the erratic power supply, restaurants and eateries resort to the use of ice cubes to keep their drinks chilled, particularly all through the afternoon.
This creates opportunities, not just for the producers but also for the distributors of ice cubes. In addition to distributors, ice cube production and distribution requires the services of skilled drivers also.
2). Production Of Ice Block Maker:
An ice block maker is a mechanical device used to solidify water packs into blocks. The ice block production business operates primarily on the ice block maker, which makes a very lucrative business all across the world.
Facts and Benefits of ice block
Ice blocks are convenient to use.
Using ice blocks to preserve foods is better, as it doesn’t affect the food itself but only coats it like a frost.
Ice blocks make a cheaper alternative to buying a fuel generator for your home or business.
You can do the business from anywhere (from the comfort of your home or a shop).
When applied on the skin, ice block fights open pores.
Ice block on the face reduces acne and wrinkles.
It gets rid of puffy and dark circle around the eyes.
Ice block reduces belly fat
It removes tan and sunburn
Relieves muscle pain
It was first made in the United States.
Frank Epperson is said to be the first person to make an ice block in 1905.
Ice blocks have approximately 200 kcal (837 KJ) of energy.
The biggest ice block in the world (25 feet) was made by a company called Snapple.
Ice block business grows in big cities with a lot of population.