Ice maker banks on ornamental blocks to boost sales

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Artificial flowers encased in ice are seen at Onoda-Shoten Co.’s factory in Arakawa Ward, Tokyo.

Tokyo ice maker Onoda-Shoten Co. has increased production of ornamental ice blocks as part of efforts to boost summer sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Before the pandemic, the Kita Ward-based company produced about 80 tons of ice daily in the peak summer season for restaurants and other establishments, for purposes such as making kakigori shaved ice.

However, the company’s sales were halved last year when opening hours at restaurants and other businesses were shortened due to pandemic measures.

Onoda-Shoten creates the ice ornaments by encasing artificial flowers and other items in blocks of various sizes at a factory in Arakawa Ward.

The vivid colors of the artificial flowers stand out through the transparent ice, making the ornaments popular as gifts, according to the company.

“We want people to enjoy the refreshing cool air from the ice and the beauty of the object at the same time,” said Onoda-Shoten’s Keiichi Ogura.