Company Touts Its Gourmet Ice-Making Machine

January 22, 2010 by   - () Comments Off on Company Touts Its Gourmet Ice-Making Machine

Editor’s Note: This story was provided by Power PR on behalf its client, San-I-Vend LLC.

MerchandiserFreezerAsk retailers what has historically been one of the highest profit margin items they sell and the answer may surprise you: bagged ice.

Typically purchased from ice distributors, a bag of ice is often marked up by 100% and sold to a captive consumer base.

However, a new trend in the bagged ice trade is emerging. Now, with commercial equipment that can be set up in the back room, small to large retailers have taken to making and bagging their own ice. Add to this a new concept in “Gourmet Ice” and some retailers are reporting a 200% to 300% increase in the already significant profit margins of ice.

The Economics of Bagged Ice

The economics behind bagged ice are significant. By bagging product on site, the existing profits margins are increased because there is no need to pay the mark-up of the middleman and the consumables are low cost items such as water, electricity and inexpensive bags.

With a backroom set-up that includes a commercial icemaker and dispenser along with a standard point-of-sale ice freezer, the cost to the retailer for the product drops from approximately 70 to 90 cents per bag to approximately 20 cents. That’s a big cost-to-profit conversion on an item that normally retails for less than $2.

Controlling the production also means that retailers will not run out of ice on the biggest holiday weekends of the year. With no need to rely on a third party, retailers can crank up or scale down ice production based on consumer demand.

The Latest Trend: Gourmet Ice

When “Gourmet Ice” is added to the equation, the economics heat up. With the unique cache of Gourmet Ice, retailers can charge a higher price on what has typically been perceived as a commodity item.

So, just what is Gourmet Ice?

Gourmet Ice is the only ice still produced in a full, block-sized cube, like a child’s wooden block. Believe it or not, this is unique as 99% of all commercial ice making equipment produces hollow spheres, small nuggets, half cubes or dice-sized cubes that melt quickly and dilute drinks rapidly.

Touted as “The World’s Best Ice,” this unique square ice has been covered in numerous food magazines including Gourmet and Food & Wine. Gourmet Ice, so named because of its near perfect purity and slow melting nature, is well known among bartenders and beverage vendors as the best ice for making cocktails.

San-I-Vend ice-making machine

San-I-Vend ice-making machine

One Wisconsin company, San-I-Vend LLC, is distributing the equipment needed to get into The Ice Gourmet business. This package for retailers combines an icemaker, storage dispenser and retail merchandiser freezer into a branded, turnkey package that can be installed within a day. The package also includes a supply of branded bags.

The Ice Gourmet icemaker utilizes an exclusive “upside-down” horizontal evaporator ice-making technology in use since 1955. Because of the process used, in which water flows through the specialty ice maker, washing away microscopic debris and impurities and freezing only that which freezes first – the purest water – the ice cube is not only perfectly shaped and large, it is very clear, hard, dense and sparkling, and is 99.9 % pure.

The Ice Gourmet system makes and stores 450 to 750 pounds of ice at any one time. For smaller retailers or mom-and-pop operations, smaller units are available from San-I-Vend.

The Ice Gourmet system allows retailers are able to offer their customers something unique and charge a premium price for it. The retail pricing of Gourmet Ice is appealingly elastic because customers purchase ice when they need it for that party, holiday, or camping trip without excessive attention to price.

With the ice-maker and dispenser combination creating and dispensing a steady supply of Gourmet Ice to customers, grocery stores, convenience stores, liquor stores, and other retailers can bag their own ice and enjoy a significant increase in the profit margins.

For more information on The Ice Gourmet system, contact San-I-Vend LLC at (920) 889-8921 or at


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