Sale of ice blocks has become a flourishing business in all parts of Nigeria because of the epileptic nature of our electricity.
Since we are in the tropics with much heat, people desire to consume creamy foods, cold drinks and cold water both in ceremonies and at home, and the best way to have them cold (in the absence of powering one’s personal fridge or freezer with stable electricity) is to use ice blocks.
This is why ice block business is viable in the country, and discussed below are four basic things which one needs to start the business:
Water is the most important raw material in the ice block production business. As you already know, ice blocks are made by freezing ordinary water in a container to a very low temperature (usually below zero degree Centigrade, 0°C).
You will need to find a good source of fresh and clean water for your production business. It is probable that the people who buy your ice block will use it to cool creamy foods, drinks and water and may not consume it directly.
However, because the ice will come in contact with products that will be eaten or drunk, impure or bad water from the ice can contaminate or poison the food and drinks. To avoid this, it is best to stick to the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness.
Clean water can be pipe-borne from the local government water authority or sourced from wells or bore holes. You could also buy your water supplies in areas where water is scarce.
Ice blocks are often packaged and sold in transparent polythene bags. The bags help to hold the ice both in its solid and melted state. Because ice can be slippery and difficult to handle, these bags help a lot during transportation and handling of the blocks.
Another good thing about packaging is that it provides you with a great opportunity to put a brand name on your ice block product. This will help to separate your blocks from the ‘faceless’ and ‘unbranded’ products of competitors. It will also help to attract more customers to your business through the contact information on the labels.
Ice Block Making Machines
These are the machines that freeze water into ice blocks. Ice block making machines are more like deep freezers with a higher cooling/freezing capacity. Some of them have rectangular moulds/containers that you pour the water into in order to produce ice blocks. When the water turns into ice, it usually takes the shape of these containers.
There are both foreign and locally-made brands of ice making machines and depending on your budget, you can choose from a wide variety of models. But it is advisable to procure those which go with after-sales servicing to ensure durable use of them.
Due to the unstable electricity supply in Nigeria, it is necessary to procure a suitable generator. To produce the amount of power to effectively drive your machine’s compressors, diesel-powered generators are often preferred over petrol-powered ones. It is advisable to buy a durable generator that will not break down often or require very frequent maintenance or repairs.
Customer Relation and Sales Management
A business will only succeed if its products are successfully sold after production, to yield income. So a good relation should be maintained with customers to encourage them for regular patronage.
Capable and honest persons should be engaged to assist with sales, and they should be trained to use good sales records which will easily reveal the viability of the business.