The Canarian company Arucansa, whose main customer is Mercadona, is increasing its production to cover part of the shortages in the rest of the country
The Canary Islands remain unaware of the ice shortage faced by the peninsula’s restaurant and food industry. So much so that tons of this product leave the archipelago every day to fill the chests of various supermarkets. Far from blaming all problems on the heat, the pandemic and rising costs, energy-led island producers are warning that the ice is a victim of problems that have dragged on for decades. “We sold the bag for 150 pesetas 30 years ago and today for 85 cents”, Details of the managing director of the Canarian company Arucansa, Francisco Suárez.
This almost perpetual price pressure causes an “absence of profits”. From this derives a concentration process to try to generate economies of scale that guarantee survival above the break-even point. Arucansa itself is an example of this. In the last twelve years, seven small companies have joined this project led by Pedro García.
Living on the edge, plus the “300%” increase in energy costs, According to Suárez, this has left several companies in the Peninsula with the only opportunity to “lower the lever”. That lack of edges It has prevented them from healing the wounds caused by the sanitary restrictions that the pandemic has had to enact in key ice cream stores such as the Horeca Channel (hotels, restaurants and cafeterias). Now only the giants who build more muscle mass in their balance have a secure future.
Producers claim that supply is falling due to low prices
Last June was the fourth warmest since 1961 in mainland Spain. according to the State Meteorological Agency (Aemet). The early heat wave has already caught the attention of ice contenders. However, the winds typical of spring returned and the water calmed down again. It is now, with summer fully installed and weeks of very high temperatures, that the iceberg worth the frozen comparison has revealed its full dimension.
The restaurateurs draw veritable conclusions, but the ice cream is not a terrain that is guaranteed not to slip, on the contrary. From exporting to France or Italy, the drinks in some bars have fewer cubes. This is not hidden from a large part of the heated and thirsty clientele. And worst of all, these shortcomings threaten to worsen as the dog days continue.
The Canary Islands are not exempt from the problems caused by the very long price maintenance. The matter is settled if one accepts an increase of “between five and ten cents” for the end customer, assures the Arucansa manager. “I don’t see anyone putting out a grill because the ice costs a little more,” Judgement. However, consumption is not affected by seasonality as is the case in the Peninsula where production spikes during the summer months.
Arucansa launched a new manufacturer in Tenerife this week
and it works the apparent contradiction that it is one of the Autonomous Communities with the least rainfall the one who – to a small extent – supplies the rest of the state. “60% of sales go to small local vendors who bring the ice cream to the bars, and the remaining 40% goes to groceries,” explains Suárez. And its main customer, Mercadona, to be precise, asked about the possibility that Arucansa could help fill some gaps that were emptying in its supermarkets’ freezer bins.
Arucansa had planned to put a new ice machine – as it is called in technical jargon – into operation on Tenerife between October and the end of the year. It would join the three that operate 24/7. The investment was brought forward. Production has increased overnight from 80 tons to 150 tons per day.
Suarez knows that Exporting to the peninsula is a matter of circumstance and that the really important thing is to solve the problem. “At the very least, this crisis will serve to visualize the substance of the matter and to understand that we cannot have prices from the 1990s,” he concludes.
15,000 bags per day
The commissioning of the first ice machine in Tenerife this week has enabled Arucansa to ship every day 40 tons of ice on the peninsula or, which is the same, “about 15,000 bags,” according to the company’s Gran Canaria manager, Francisco Suárez. Currently, “between 30 and 40%,” he adds, of the production is stored in freezers that are transported by sea to mainland Spain. An income injection intended to “pay off a little bit, no more”. Transport increases costs, so operation can only be understood as a detail with the end customer of supermarkets. | JGH